The Patanjali Sutras 1:1 offers us the premise of the yoga lifestyle that we might come to understand the nature of our human condition. That the practice of yoga is meant to address the Self, the nature of that which IS, the I AM.
Patanjali long held that the human being is an island of excellence. That to be born human is the greatest of all achievements, and likewise, to die without knowing the essence of life is our greatest loss.
1:1 Now begins the instruction of the practice of yoga. Atha yoganusasanam
To fully understand our mind and attain mastery over it, so that we might harness its vast powers is at the core of yoga philosophy, lifestyle and practice.
We are beings with the capacity to self-illuminate, to access and capture for use our innate intuitive divine intelligence, that which constitutes the core of our island of excellence. The great I AM is THAT.
Our capacity for divine intelligence allows us to comprehend the reality we know as time-space, the law of cause and effect and rational thought. This ability to self illuminate also gives us cause to transcend this reality, what the sages have cited as our ability to enter into a transcendental reality of genius and ingenuity.
When we are bathed in this inner wisdom, we are a powerful interceptor of ignorance, false identification, attachments, aversion and the fear of death. We become capable of becoming fully established in our true Self.
The path of yoga establishes with Self the ancient tradition of shakti sadhana, a daily spiritual practice of asanas, pranayama, meditation (dhyana) and affirming mantras together known as the Kriya. All of these to (re)establish the pristine nature of our innate mind, to recapture its immense power and wisdom for the purpose of revealing who we are, to know the I AM within.