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Sutras for Life

May 1, 2018

Finding your bliss is an age old practice.

While this sense of well being found through our asana practice is rewarding, it is just a fraction of the bliss that yoga promises.

Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice for attaining peace, wholeness, and inner strength. The word yoga in Sanskrit can be translated both as “the process of uniting” and as “union,” so yoga is both the path and the mountain top.

Yoga was first an oral tradition. Then Sage Patanjali wrote the secret knowledge of yoga in the Yoga Sutras perhaps in 300 BCE. A sutra is a tiny pithy phrase that contains enormous wisdom. Using these powerful teachings people have been practicing, attaining, and explaining this path to self-awareness since before recorded time.

The first sutra, which in Sanskrit is atha yoganushasanam, is a profound teaching on the process and state of yoga. Classically the translation is: Now at this auspicious moment, yoga discipline begins. For the contemporary yogi it can be understood as: Discipline leads to union with presence.


“The truth lies within our own true nature.”

The word atha is synonymous with OM, presence, the sound of creation, existence-consciousness-bliss solidified. Atha is uttered at the beginning of all undertakings, as a prayer, as an intention, as an inspiration.

Yoga is union with presence, with the divine, with the inner self, with consciousness, with the highest aspiration. Yoga is the practice for peace that brings peace itself.

The word anu means “within.” It signifies that the essence of presence lies within each of us, connects all of us, and is found through the disciplines of yoga.

The phrase shasanam means “discipline” or “teaching.” The teaching and discipline of yoga is the method for realizing the profound wholeness, energy, and love that is available to every one of us.

Yoga is an internal realization and practice: nothing is achieved externally, nor do we have to go to anywhere to find it. The truth lies within our own true nature. The practices of yoga remove the obstacles that veil the truth, which is here and now and always.As Sage Patanjali teaches in Yoga Sutras I:I, the result of this discipline is union with presence, atha yoganushasanam ornow at this auspicious moment, yoga discipline begins.


The Author

  • Mount Madonna Community Member

    Our community writers are accomplished authors who share their passion for yoga, mindfulness, and wellness through insightful articles on our website. Their writing offers actionable insights and personal stories of transformation, all written with clarity, compassion, and a deep commitment to helping others thrive. Whether teaching yoga or volunteering in the community, our writers embody warmth, wisdom, and a dedication to service that inspires us all.

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