Happy September which also happens to be Yoga Month…a great time to celebrate and re-commit to this practice we all love so much.
Speaking of commitment :)…the very first of the Yoga Sutras is ‘atha yoganusasanam.’ Over the years, I have heard so many different translations of the sutras and the one I’ve always heard for the first sutra was, ‘now begins the practice (or instruction) of Yoga.’ Later, as I really started to dive deep into this foundational handbook for the teachings of Yoga with a teacher who has studied the sutras in India for well over a decade, I begin to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the power of the first sutra. And it has everything to do with commitment or ‘atha’. If we want something different, we have to do something different and the very first step in doing something different is committing yourself fully to it and the time to commit is now…’atha’. Not, next week when your life gets more settled. Not after the kids get back in school. Not when summer is over, or spring begins, or when the holidays are through or when the in-laws leave, or when you get that new job or promotion…you see where I am going with this? The time to commit is now, in this moment, as it is the only one that exists.
There will always be an excuse for us not to commit to something. Commitment is scary. It means there is no going back. It means that we must show up over and over again. Even if it’s messy and scary and hard. We are so over the ways things are that we give our whole selves to something that we believe can help us or allow us to experience more happiness, health and wholeness. This is the power of commitment. I see ‘atha’ as a wake-up call. Wake up! Attention! You’re going the wrong way! Commit to something different and do it now! ATHA!!! In this sutra the commitment is to the practice of yoga, which for these purposes we can see as union or absorption with our chosen something.
The next part deals with following the experience of someone who has had the experience, ‘nusasanam.’ For example, you can get advice from anyone about divorce but probably the one who will understand your struggles and be able to offer the most insight is one who has had the actual experience of divorce. Addiction? Learn from someone who has been there and overcome addiction. Death? Seek solace in one who has personally experienced a great loss. Of course there are many others than we can learn from and that can help us, but if we really want something and we want to know HOW to get there…we may suffer less if we seek out someone who has already traveled that road.
So, Atha…I am over it and I am deeply committed to doing something different. Yoga…as in union or absorption with whatever it is I choose. Nusasanam… I am willing to ask for help from someone who has already been there. Simple, yet profound.
As I mentioned, it’s yoga month, a great time to commit (or re-commit) to your practice in whatever it is you are choosing to do. Is there something you really, really want for your life? Can you use this month of celebrating the practice of yoga to commit to what you want, seek out help from someone who’s had a similar experience, and move towards it with absolute faith in your ability to get there? That is certainly what I am going to do this month. Without getting too personal…I had an intense wake up call…a deep and profound ATHA and I realized that the ONLY moment to do anything about it is right NOW. So I am committed. Now. And now. And now…