In a short sentence, sutras 1.1 – 1.3 explain that if you can control the rising of the mind into ripples, like water in a bucket, then you will experience yoga. Let’s dive deeper:
Sutra 1.1 – Yoga is Now. Yoga is the unification of the mind, body, and soul. It means to “yolk.” What this sutra means to me is that at any given moment, I have an opportunity to become centered.
Sutra 1.2 – Have you ever heard the phrase, “monkey mind?” This is the Buddhist’s way of explaining the constant thoughts that run through our minds. A lot of the time, these thoughts are subconscious and we are completely unaware that we are thinking these thoughts. In Patanjali’s sutras, he has a phrase that describes what we must do about it: Yogas Citta-Vritti-Nirodhah or the process of stilling the churnings of the mind stuff. It is the second sutra in book one, and a very important sutra. As a teacher, it is important that I teach this sutra to my students.
Sutra 1.3 – This sutra defines your role in this process. You are the Seer; the true witness to your own self and your thoughts or the “monkey mind.” In order to understand yourself, you must learn to be quite in the mind. Yoga is the way to stilling your mind and it includes many types of practices which the following sutras will begin to define.