The first word of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is the word now - astha (अथ). The word "now" is a call for attention, a call for mindfulness, and has been central in the Yoga world from Ram Das' 1971 classic Be Here Now to Eckart Tolle's 1997 bestseller The Power of Now. It has been said that all of the remaining words of the Yoga Sutra are merely a footnote, that the essence of Yoga is found in this one word alone. Whether that is true or not is up to each of us to decide!
This sutra is only three words long, but it is deep, nuanced and evokes a mood of contemplation and inquiry. It has been translated and interpreted many different ways over the centuries and although we leave the last two words untranslated on this design we thought the first word should be translated. Whether on a t-shirt, tank top or sweatshirt, let this design speak to you and remind you of what matters. Now!
Let's break it down and take a closer look. Hang in there... we're going to nerd out a bit here! (After all, we are Yoga Geek).
The design of your t-shirt consists of the three words of the first Sutra written in Devanagari script. Devanagari is the script in which ancient Sanskrit, Hindi, and other modern languages of India are written. The ancient language of Yoga looks like this:
Now, the teachings of yoga [are presented].
Here begins the authoritative instruction on Yoga.
Now, the teachings of yoga.
With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga.
We all inquire into yoga.
Now the exposition of Yoga is being made.
Now concentration is explained.