Here, now, is the practice of yoga.

अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥

atha yoga-anuśāsanam ॥1॥

When I first enrolled into my first teacher training, I had this idea that I would learn (obviously) how to teach yoga but had no idea that it would open my eyes and heart to another way of living.

I won’t lie, the first teacher training I took was intense and it was a whole other language. Literally and figuratively, with the Sanskrit terms. And the second teacher training I took, was even more intense because we were expected to learn not only the Sanskrit terms but also how to read and write.

One of the most common philosophical texts that an introductory yoga training will cover is called the Yoga Sūtras by Patañjali. It is essentially, a yoga for dummies, kind of text. The text has a total of 4 chapters that are meant to be followed (and mastered) in sequence to each other as each chapter builds on the skills and insight gained from the previous chapter.

This can (and is) a lifelong study for anybody because the text is so rich and its lessons seemingly change as one changes in perception, understanding and movement through life. The details of the text and the key points are most definitely worthwhile to cover in a later blog post but it is the very first sentence of the very first chapter that offers such incredible insight.

In Sanskrit, atha yogaanuśāsanam, can be translated in two different ways. Both of them, valid and something to consider in day to day living.

Here now, is the practice of yoga.

An introductory sentence to the text the yoga practitioner is about to read and the path they are about to embark on. Here, is the teachings and lessons of yoga. Here, begins the practice of yoga.

But with a simple addition of a comma, the translation changes.

Here, now, is the practice of yoga.

As you are reading the sentence, you are already in the practice of yoga. But more so, now is in reference to every moment and how every moment is the practice of yoga.

The second translation really spoke to me and still does to this day. The reality is that we can be perfect yoga practitioners within the confines of a studio and on the four corners of our yoga mats. It’s easy to be calm, happy, relaxed and content in that space on the majority of days. But how much of a yogi / yogini are we when we are stuck in unexpected traffic and you are already late, or hungry, or tired? Where is the yogi / yogini when somebody knows just how to push your buttons and says or does something to you that makes you angry, sad, disappointed, jealous, annoyed, frustrated? Or when a total stranger is just being a plain ol’ jerk to you? Those are the moments that challenge me the most and also the moments where the practice of yoga is most advanced. To quell my reaction so it becomes a response.

It’s not easy (it never is).

But it’s a practice and without a doubt, the advanced practice. And that’s just the first sentence of the text!! So, we just keep trying. We keep with the deep inhales and exhales to press reset and to employ the lessons we have learned on our mats beyond the four walls of a yoga studio.

Here, now, is the practice of yoga.

Kate Mak