yoga sutras

Now Begins the Study of Yoga: Yoga Sutra 1.1

Ancient Wisdom in a modern world
अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥

atha yoga-anuśāsanam

Translation: Now begins the study of yoga

This is the first Yoga Sutra and as short as it is, it is mighty profound.

Yoga did not spring from a book, decades of oral knowledge led to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras; 196 verses dedicated to the path of Yoga. Tucked away in mountain caves, the esoteric knowledge of Yoga was passed from teacher to student. Students, or sadhakas would humbly quest for deeper meaning, traverse hidden valleys, and spend a portion of their lives at their teachers feet fasting in renunciation to gain deeper knowledge and awareness of the great mysteries of life.

Now, we have the great and wise internet, and our caves have transformed into open seas of knowledge with waves of truth, and mis-information. This is my attempt to deepen my understanding of the Yoga Sutras, by studying their affect in my life and broadcasting it out to sea. May you ride the wave of enlightenment all the way to the shores of eternity, or at least enjoy my take on an ancient wisdom in a modern world.

It is said that Patanjali was a great sage and would have many students at his feet to pass on the knowledge of Yoga. This sutra, like the om, is calling the class to order.

My modern interpretation is that Yoga begins in the here and now. When we discover the depths of Yoga, we come to realize we are immersed in Yoga. Any time we are fully present, we are immersed in Yoga. Yoga is connection, it is the Union of self with the Divine. And so, when we are present, we are in Union.

For me, yoga is about unearthing our divinity. It is the great cosmic joke that we go searching for enlightenment, or the divine outside of ourselves. We are spiritual in nature. Our human, physical bodies, are the container for an etherial energy, which, we can, if we like, refer to as spirit.

There is great debate on whether there is a difference between our own spirit and the great spirit, the all pervading conciousness, God, Brahma, or whichever word best defines for you, the something bigger than ourselves that binds us as one. I’m not here to debate. However, we have to be able to hold paradox in our mind for a moment as we imagine what it is like to be both individual and unique and also completely made up of the same stuff as all matter we perceive and even the imperceivable.

Namaste. I am Divinity showing up as Christina, and you are Divinity showing up as you. And that for me is Yoga. That light within me, acknowledges that light within you.

We are all different harmonies of one great song; Different notes on the symphony of life; Different brush strokes of a grand masterpiece painting, and we are all unique expressions of the Divine.

How wonderful is it to be unique, and yet to be together experiencing a sacred thing called life?

Yoga is a spiritual path. Any spiritual endeavor will be unique to each individual, and yet each step leads you deeper into connection with the oneness of everything. A Yogic path is one way of unearthing your Divinity. The churches offer rituals, temples offer ceremony, indigenous tribes offer plant medicine, and each have the power and intention to help you feel that sense of sacred within. Once you open up to that feeling, and really know inside your heart that each and every moment is a sacred one, you can dissolve away the outside forms.

The temple is life itself & each day can be a ceremonial one.

So light your incense and say cheers to that!

You are doing the yoga. Right here right now.

atha yoga-anuśāsanam

अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥

Next week we will discuss sutra 1.2: Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind.

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