I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, applied, and only then passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.
Yoga-anuśāsanam This applied (not theoretical) knowledge/wisdom brings you to that state called Yoga.
Anuśāsanam is applied/practical knowledge versus Jignyāsa, which is mere theoretical knowledge.
Anu + sāśanam = to follow (practice) + theory/philosophy/ facts/nothing to argue about/not open to being disputed.
A change is going to happen. What propels us from transmission of knowledge to transformation? Practicing, experiencing, and applying the knowledge is the first step. Then it must be passed down to the next generation. You start as a student, but you must become a teacher to create the guruparampara. Ideally, this knowledge is transmitted from teacher to student directly, not through books or other media, for a direct transmission experience to happen.
Practice is more important than theory. I am learning the theory in order to practice. The same idea is expressed in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Only practice will give you results. Theory alone will not. Just because you dress like a Yogi, you will not become a Yogi. Speaking like a Yogi will not give you results. This regular and long-term practice of Yoga creates authenticity or satyam (truth). The experienced teacher says, “Don’t have any doubts. I teach from a tradition which I have followed and now I am passing on to you to follow.” Patanjali never claims authorship for the YS - he is merely its compiler, passing down its knowledge from the Veda-s to future generations.
This YS is a closed loop. Atha (authority to teach) comes first, but you must follow what you know (Anuśāsanam) in order to have that authority to pass on the knowledge of Yoga to future generations.