atha yogā ‘nuśāsanaṃ

“Now begins the study of Yoga”

I’ve been told (though I don’t know to what extent it may be true) that in all the ancient texts, the yogis would start with the single most potent word that, if you truly understood it, would render all the rest of the text superfluous. Certainly in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, that first word, now, seems to hold the key to everything else.

Some people approach the yoga practice as one that is subtle, mystical and esoteric. While I respect their interpretation, for me, the practice of yoga–the complete practice, not just the asana practice–is an endless attempt to inhabit the present moment. What yoga has shown me is that this moment is the only real thing. What matters to me is my actual experience, which is mundane and concrete. Projecting our consciousness backward and forward through time, with memory and fantasy, may help inform our experience in this moment, but it is ultimately this moment that matters.

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