Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 1
अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥
atha yoga-anu-śāsanam ||1||
Now follow the teachings of Yoga.atha - now; an auspicious and inceptive particleyoga - the act of yokinganu - followśāsana - teachings
Commentaries and ReflectionsT Krishnamacharya:
“The study of Yoga is a vast undertaking that requires sustained effort and guidance. The term Atha signifies auspicious beginning, uninterrupted continuity, and an appropriate end.
Yoga is a Saṃskāra, a process that prepares us to realize the things we wish to achieve at various moments in life.
For instance, when children approach school age parents must prepare them to make the adjustment from being at home to being with other children and teachers. This cannot be done suddenly, some orientation is necessary. This is a Saṃskāra.
Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realize our greatest potential. If we wish, it can prepare us for and lead us to the beatitude of the divine presence. The Saṃskāra of Yoga prepares a person for Ātma Vidyā and is open to everyone.
The students, in turn, learned and experienced the teachings in their own lives, and thus became competent to teach.
In this way the lineage of Yoga teachers is established.
One of the most notable sages in this lineage, Patañjali, respecting Vedic tradition and blessed with proximity to the Lord, presented this teaching in the form of the Yoga Sūtra, enabling succeeding generations of Yoga teachers and students to transmit their own experiences in a systematic and structured way.
“Yoga is a Saṃskāra in that it equips us to realise our greatest potential.”TKV Desikachar:
“Atha – Now in the sense of nowness.
By convention let there be something auspicious.
The Sūtra are different in the sense of not having a prayer dedication in the first Sūtra.
Thus Atha fills this role.
Particularly the letter ‘A’ which is a dedication.
“Of sounds I am the first letter A.”
Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Ten verse 33
Now I am going to tell you something about Yoga.
A serious discussion as you, the students, are ready.
This also refers to the student’s previous attempts at learning,
which will now be clarified.
A student might have tried to study problems of the mind
to try to bring an understanding of equilibrium.
The teacher says ‘now I will teach you’.
The first Sūtra also acts as a key for the memory to link all the Yoga Sūtra.
So no confusion with the Brahma Sūtra, etc.
No reference is made to it being an inquiry into Yoga.
On the contrary it is given as an absolute teaching.
Emphasis is given to the use and choice of words.
They are placed and given in context very carefully.
Thus the meaning is very clear.
The beauty of the Sūtra is that they are only related to the mind.
Thus they stand above various religions
and can be studied and related to by all types of persons
from all types of religions.”
Follow the Teachings of Yoga.”