Updated: Jul 7, 2021
Word breakdown: ath (now) yog (union) anushaasan (the practice of, discipline)
Translation: Now, the discipline of yog will be described. (Yog being the state in which the mind is united with the expansive, unchanging state of consciousness).
Here, the word discipline should be taken as “practice”. Self-inquiry, or looking within for truth, is a practice. But this practice is also something that comes naturally, not just something we are taught to do. We naturally wonder where true knowledge and true happiness will come from and seek them within ourselves and outside ourselves. The search for true knowledge and true happiness is a fundamental calling in this life. But from the time we are old enough to begin comprehending language, others impose their ideas on us of what will give us happiness and what is morally good and bad, right and wrong. To a great degree, this imposition of these ideas squelches our natural ability to find answers inherent in our own nature. Rather than through enabling, encouragement, and positive reinforcement, much of our learning comes through a force-feeding process, which can be difficult to adapt to.
But the study we are now undertaking is not of how to revamp our teaching/learning systems, but how to revive the practice (anushaasan) of looking within for answers and unburdening self of its bondage to all that changes, goes up and down, and results in mental states that make human beings divisive and hurtful toward others and themselves. So, practicing yog (unity with expansive, unchanging consciousness) means the practice of reaching and becoming established in our higher self, the eternal, unchanging Being which is resplendent with knowledge and happiness.