Yoga is not so much a fitness routine as a character-building tool. Through its ancient philosophy it guides practitioners to this day on how to live a life based on principles, balance and contentment.
All or most of Yoga philosophy is based on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras composed somewhere between BC1 and AD1. So many details about Patanjali, an ancient Indian sage, have been lost with the passage of time. Some even doubt he was a real person, believing him to be a composite of several teachers and their teachings. However, today we celebrate Patanjali as the father of Yoga and credit him with showing us the 8-fold Yogic path towards enlightenment.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are composed of 196 sutras or threads — each the kernel of an idea, expressed quite often, in a single pithy sentence. However, each sutra builds upon the other, and holds profound meaning that could be interpreted in endless ways.
The Yoga Sutras are divided into 4 sections of Padas and each puts forward certain principles, and practices. The 4 Padas are: Samadhi, Sadhana, Vibhuti and Kaivalya.
As you systematically and repeatedly go through each Padha, you unfold various aspects of your inner potential.
Atha yoga anushasanam
This is the very first line of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
It roughly translates to: ‘Now begins the study of Yoga.’ OR ‘Now begins the discipline of Yoga’
Sounds simple yes? And as introductions go, one might be tempted to think the line pretty common-place. And yet, a Yoga teacher will caution you that the sentence is loaded with meaning.
The word ‘Atha’ — meaning ‘now’ — often gets the most attention. We might have a tendency to move over it quickly, but Yoga teachers will pull you back and urge you to dwell on it.
‘Atha’ — NOW … the present infinitesimal, fleeting moment — one NOW leading to the next NOW and the next …
Your life in NOWS.
Your initiation into Yoga and its practice … deepening gradually day by day … teaching you forever to live in the present moment, where rid of all thoughts — the stuff of the mind — you finally attain balance and equanimity.
This is when neither the miseries and troubles of life can send you into paroxysms of despair, nor can its joys transport you into the throes of excessive ecstasy. You learn to assimilate all experiences and find contentment in everything.
Can you see where this is going?
And we’ve just taken one word.
Atha yoga anushasanam or’now begins the study of Yoga’.
Watch this space for our next blog on the Yoga Sutras.
If you find yourself fascinated by this introduction to Yoga Philosophy, then you might want to click on the links below that take you to Pratimoksha’s YouTube page. Listen to Pratimoksha founder Ms Lalitha Viswanath as she speaks on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Pratimoksha Enlighten Yoga Studio Dubai is beginning its first 50-Hour Yoga CEP (Continuing Education Program) soon. Pratimoksha offers 200 and 500 hours Yoga instructor course accredited by Yoga Alliance USA. If you are interested in getting more details, call or Whatsapp us at +971-50-395-5613.
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