THE YOGA SUTRAS
The yoga sutras of Patanjali are a composition of 4 books that contain all 196 verses of the sutras (threads) that collectively weave together the teachings of the 8 limbed path of yoga.
Patanjali’s 2,000 year old recording of the Yoga Sutras begins with an “ah-ha” statement. “NOW!” - he proclaims excitedly to listen up!
Atha yoga anushasanam
Now, the teachings of yoga.
—Yoga Sutra 1.1
Atha (pronounced at-ha) is an important to notice as a choice of first word for many reasons.
The yogi students in times of these traditional teachings didn’t have access to the library and Google or a workshop. The knowledge that the Sage’s held was sacred and transpired through an earned privilege (and lot’s of ‘groundwork’) in order to be shared the gift of yoga teachings. So, atha yields a sense of accomplishment for all that follows.
It also conveys the timelessness of yoga. It’s always present. There are no dates, no backstory, no figures to remember. It simply states… NOW… the teachings of yoga. There is the same relevance in today’s understanding than there was at the time it was recorded. Not only is it relevant across centuries, but within the lifetime of the same person. As we evolve, the teachings of ‘union’ take on a different meaning for us. NOW is an omni-present moment. It’s also a reminder.
Try to visualize a sage sitting with several young and eager students. Likely, on the floor with no shoes or socks. Probablly with a familiarity and respect for one another on a Soulful level. The language of The Sutras is informal, as dictated in a circle of sacred wisdom without the help of Microsoft Word and PowerThesaurus. The translation is that of which all can understand, spoken with the energy of that present moment.
The reflection of this scenery that creates the dialogue of The Sutras is a reminder that when we do something from the heart, with aligned purpose and intention of the Soul, it doesn’t need to (nor could ever) be perfect. The perfection is in the way that the message is imparted - with purpose.
THE POWER OF NOW
Often we, as humans, struggle with perfectionism. It looks like a great character flaw on a perspective employment form as a ‘weakness’ and skates by as acceptable to our ego self and others. Perfectionism is simply a prettier word for procrastination, though. it sneaks by, pretending to be something that it’s not (attainable) and dangerously removes us from the present moment.
If I add….
If I subtract….
These thoughts bring you into the future (and therefore away from your life force), it stokes the fire of a scarcity mindset, judgement, self-harm, comparison and creates cravings, external desires, and temptation to compromise the sanctity of whatever it is we started with. The thing is no-thing is ever perfect, nor ever will be. You’ll almost always be able to look back with the ego and find something that could have been done to tweak whatever it is that had you worried in the first place, but to have done so would be disingenuous and contradictory of the path of a yogini.
The closest concept to perfection is the Divine, all encompassing [God, Universe, Nature, Infinite Love, Highest Self, Soul] everything-ness of the Ether. We are nearest to this when we align with our truest self (Sat Guru - our internal teacher), when we are completely present - down to the faction of a second - and create from there, as a channel rather than a controller.
The best way that I overcome perfectionism is to ask [The Universe] to use me as a medium who whatever my Soul wishes to manifest. When I speak, write, think, draw, dance, create, love from that space I have no ego mind to make it anything but what it is. This, to me, feels like what the yogis call Moksha (freedom from the Karmic birth cycle). Liberation in this form allows space for new creation - to literally change the cycle of life by BEing in the NOW.
THE PRESENT OF GRATITUDE
It's so easy to get caught up in every day struggle, fear, bills, self-image, career, relationships all the while trying to decide to slam on the brakes or give it gas under a red-light camera.
If yoga is union (yuge) to unite - ultimately flesh and ethereal Spirit / True Self (Atman) then the 8 limbed path can be boiled down to one word: gratitude.
Gratitude is both bridge and gate that creates a passage between your ego-driven past and your present purpose. It is the fastest way to access the God that permeates this Universe and your Soul and a timetravel machine to bring you right into the NOW.
Creating a daily habit of gratitude is the act of creating ritual for getting closer to your true self. Start with the things that are simple and specific. They don't need to be grand (though they could be) and they do need to change daily.
Connect to the FEELING that you have in being grateful in order to magnify the manifestation power. Energy grows where feeling (focus) flows. So, if you are writing that you are grateful for something (whether or not you already have it) and your feeling doesn't align, don't write it.
Play with this by finding ways around it. For example:
I̶'̶m̶ ̶g̶r̶a̶t̶e̶f̶u̶l̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶ ̶l̶o̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ ̶(̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶e̶y̶e̶ ̶r̶o̶l̶l̶)̶
I'm grateful to receive new opportunities for abundance everyday.
Make this a daily practice.
TIP: when you run out of ideas or on a day your stuck, use a word or alphabet and then find something that feels good for each letter.