Atha - Now is the Time for Yoga

I began teaching yoga again this week, after two months of resting and recuperating after surgery. I decided to use as my theme, the first sutra in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras - "atha yoga nusasanam," or, "Now is the time for yoga."

Every fall we say goodbye to the summer, and we greet the nascent season, by saying yes to our practice once again. When we begin anything - a project, a degree, a school, a job - there is an initial hesitancy, and fear - and enthusiasm - as we embrace what will be - but what is also, not yet...

When we are ready, the universe conspires to assist us in undertaking whatever task or desire we have at hand...

The new book, The Path of the Yoga Sutras: A Practical Guide to the Core of Yoga, by Nicolai Bachman, develops key concepts of the Yoga Sutras, in order to shed light on the these simple, pithy directives and assertions.

The word "atha" - implies readiness and commitment on our part. The first chapter of this book begins with the following quotation from Goethe:

"Until one is committed, there is a hesitancy, the chance to draw back. The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

The first two paragraphs in Bachman's book wisely observe:

"Beginnings, like endings, can be difficult or exciting. Starting something new implies change, a step toward an eventual goal. Atha is the very first word in the Yoga Sutras and is considered an auspicious way to begin. Whenever we make an important decision, often the universe will energetically support us.

Atha here means beginning the study of who we are, where we are, and how we can make incremental changes to our inner and outer self in order to be...more in tune with how we feel and how our actions affect those around us..."

The third paragraph continues by noting:

"Learning, practicing, and integrating the various aspects of yoga happens over a long period of time and requires patience and perseverance."

This is especially true for those of us with a "come and go" or "ebb and flow" relationship with yoga - which indeed, all of us experience at one point or another.

When we say yes - we "Open to Grace," the First Universal Principle of Alignment of Anusara Yoga. We cannot say yes without being open to what will come. We cannot say yes without embodying what is, and giving birth to what will be. We recognize that the time for yoga - for beginning anything - for saying yes - for embracing our readiness and embodying our commitment is in the NOW - in the sacredness of the present moment, which is the only moment there is.

Today - say yes. Embrace and embody the Now. Say it! Now is the time! Now is the time to do this or that. Now is the time for yoga!


Kasia said…
Thank you for talking about commitment, that's where I'm struggling, well maybe I was... Every day I'm more sure, yoga is what I want to do for me and for the others.
I am now training w/ Jeff Fisher to become an Anusara yoga teacher, after starting practicing yoga only 2 years ago. The benefits of physical and mental practice are incredible and there is no end to what one can learn:)

Namaste, Kasia
Kasia said…
Thank you for talking about commitment, as Im new to yoga practice and philosophy and want to become a teacher, I struggle with staying focused and wold like to believe more in myself:)

There is a lot to learn, actually, I don"t think, one can stop or would want to, once on the path.

Let's do yoga!

namaste, Kasia
Olga Rasmussen said…
Blessings, and wishing you the best on your journey! Olga

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