Sutra Sundays – Sutra 1.1

Sutra Sundays are here! I decided to do a series where I’d take a look at the yoga sutras one by one, well, firstly because I need to refresh my memory of the sutras (I’ve read them a few times but never looked at each one in detail) and secondly to see how we can bring them into real life, because these things are all great in theory but they mean nothing until you put them into practice! – already wondering what on earth I’m talking about? Lets rewind.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a collection of sutras (Sutra being the sanskrit word for ‘thread’) or aphorisms detailing the yogic journey. Each sutra is here for contemplation, although there are thousands of commentaries and discussions written about them, Patanjali never provided an explanation for them.

..Which I kinda like! I mean, It makes them timeless- every reading of them by each person throughout history will be slightly different, so you can take them and apply them in your own way.

So we’ll start this series from the beginning…

1.1 atha yoga-anuśāsanam ॥1॥
Now (therefore), the teachings of yoga.

Here is where yoga starts to get really interesting.

I feel like what’s being said here is a cocktail of ‘once you’ve reached the point on your journey where you’ve decided to pick up a copy of the sutras, sit down and start reading, this is the moment yoga begins.’ , ’shut up and listen, what you’ve done so far is great but you have so much more to learn kid!’ and ‘now you’re ready to dive a little deeper, THIS is what you’re really here for’.

Once you’ve gotten past the point in your practice where all you care about is the pretty shape or that perfect handstand and you start to feel that shift into a more subtle tingle of self enquiry and you turn to deeper questions: instead of ‘how do I do this pose?’ but ‘what can I learn on the way to achieving that shape?’ the practice becomes a tool for radical transformation! And I think Patanjali is saying, in the sutras that’ll follow, I’ll explain how that transformation will happen.

His advice, in basic terms, is just to keep reading.

Love & Light,

Ellie xx


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