"Atha Yoga Anushasanam" - Yoga Sutra 1.1
"Atha" means "now" in sanskrit and is the first word of Pantajali's Yoga Sutra. In history students worked and studied to have access to the yoga teachings. When the students were ready, the teacher would say,"Atha Yoga Anushasanam" (Now the teachings of yoga) and the student's would begin their journey.
Last week in our yoga teacher training our teacher, Michelle ended our weekend with "Atha Yoga Anushasanam". We sat in a circle as eager students and repeated the ancient sanskrit chant with her. Chanting and sound is a part of yoga practice, but it was very new to me. As we chanted together the energy grew and my mind went to all sorts or caverns and cubbies. At the end we chanted "Atha Yoga Anushasanam" very quietly. It really was playful, fun, and exciting, however I felt completely terrified afterwards. What was I doing here?! Can I really be a yoga teacher? Can I really let myself open up to this practice? I did not know.
I left class still terrified and embarrassed that I felt that way. I was resisting for some reason. Of course I had to expect we would most likely chant, but I did not really think about it until it was happening. Why was I so afraid? It was an emotional response to something new and the fact that I was afraid means that I should explore more. I did. For most of that next week I was chanting "Atha Yoga Anushasanam" in my daily life. Driving my car, making food, browsing the internet. This chant was my mantra for the entire week. It was wonderful. Now. Yoga. Always.