What is our opening chant all about?
The Dhyana Slokas.
June 10, 2019
The power of now - Exploring Patanjali Yoga Sutras
November 3, 2014
Atha yoga anushasanam
- English: Now, at this auspicious time, and after having done previous
preparation, begins the study and practice of yoga.
The first of the Yoga Sutras are often brushed over because of their brevity. But it is in fact the succinct nature of the sutras that makes them so powerful. A Sutra (thread) is a simple explanation of a complex philosophical teaching and every word contains a necessary element that alludes to the essence of the teaching. So let us explore the power of the very first of Patanjalis Yoga Sutras*.
Atha translates to "now" referring to all that has
led to this moment. All the necessary preparations have been taken to lead to the auspicious moment that is "NOW"
In our fast paced lives of unprecedented convenience the personal history of what has led us to this moment in time is often lost. Technology yields instant answers and fast food brings instant calories. But are we truly nourished by such instant gratification? It is well known in behavioural psychology giving into and attaining what we want when we want it can lead to maladaptive behaviours such as addiction. "The Problem of Immediate Gratification (the PIG) refers to the universal principle that immediacy is much more important than magnitude of a payoff when it comes to influencing overt behaviour” (http://www.souldirected.com/pig.php).
So the power of NOW is directly correlated with the preparation that led to the anticipated moment. It is in fact hyperbolic , the investment is usually in proportion to the payoff, the greater the investment, the greater the payoff.
Historically the Yoga student had to attain a level of discipline and focus before the teacher would accept them as a student... the energy invested leading up to "NOW" was much higher than the investment leading us modern Yogis to the mat. All we need to do is google a time and place and pay the teacher. What is your investment: payoff ratio? What is it that you expect to GET from your hour on the mat?
Perhaps the payoff has been received before the class has even commenced. The culmination of organising your work/family/educational/social life has been reached at the moment you unroll your mat. (or contemplate the commencement of that soul enriching activity … fishing may be your Yoga?) So contemplate and appreciate being in the NOW next time you begin something... Whether you have done it a thousand times or if you are just beginning the journey, appreciate the effort that has gotten you here and let the rest flow without expectation. Letting go of expectation (in yoga we call this vairagya) is the hard part to letting NOW flow in fullness. This is an attitude that will also bring you confidence to pursue whatever it is you feel you have been working towards, but may procrastinate about thinking that the time isn’t right or that you aren’t yet qualified to answer those questions yourself. As yoga will continue to teach you, as above – so below, you already have all of the answers… accumulation of more questions is the only inevitable answer until the moment is ceased and we stop to appreciate the wisdom of NOW residing within us at each moment.