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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda

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This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new deluxe printing of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on eth This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new deluxe printing of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on ethics, meditation, and physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. The Sutras are presented here in the purest form, with the original Sanskrit and with translation, transliteration, and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of the most respected and revered contemporary Yoga masters. In this classic context, Sri Swamiji offers practical advice based on his own experience for mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental and emotional harmony.


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This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new deluxe printing of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on eth This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new deluxe printing of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path. The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on ethics, meditation, and physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. The Sutras are presented here in the purest form, with the original Sanskrit and with translation, transliteration, and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of the most respected and revered contemporary Yoga masters. In this classic context, Sri Swamiji offers practical advice based on his own experience for mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental and emotional harmony.

30 review for The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda

  1. 5 out of 5

    Liz Rosenblum

    I can't recall a time in my life where a "required" reading has changed my life immeasurably. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as explained by Swami Satchidnanda is a mandatory part of most yoga teacher trainings, and thankfully it was for mine. This is not a book that you read from cover to cover like a novel, but it is something that you pick up, read, absorb, think about, put into practice, and then read some more. It has lessons about yoga, lessons about life and lessons about being a good person I can't recall a time in my life where a "required" reading has changed my life immeasurably. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as explained by Swami Satchidnanda is a mandatory part of most yoga teacher trainings, and thankfully it was for mine. This is not a book that you read from cover to cover like a novel, but it is something that you pick up, read, absorb, think about, put into practice, and then read some more. It has lessons about yoga, lessons about life and lessons about being a good person. Patanjali's writing about yoga is undeniably thought-provoking and deep, but Satchidanda explains each sutra with words and stories that anyone can relate to. It's also one of those books that each time you read it, you'll find something different depending on where you are in your own personal journey. The Yoga Sutras are a must-read for anyone studying or practicing yoga and meditation and seeking for a higher state of bliss and acceptance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Good introductory translation. Excellent for first-time readers of the Sutras. If you want to dive deeper in, though, I suggest Edwin Bryant's translation. If you'd like a Buddhist perspective, check out Chip Hartranft's. Good introductory translation. Excellent for first-time readers of the Sutras. If you want to dive deeper in, though, I suggest Edwin Bryant's translation. If you'd like a Buddhist perspective, check out Chip Hartranft's.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ebony

    I am a skeptic about all of the things. The Sutras start with “the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga” and I think, I like my mind. It’s a beautiful, creative, ever-expanding entity that has served me well until present day. The Sutras state that humans are Spirits inhabiting bodies with minds yet we are neither. I think, I like my body too. What’s with the self-deprecation? There’s redemptive suffering for days here. I’m still too close to how Christianity wielded that wea I am a skeptic about all of the things. The Sutras start with “the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga” and I think, I like my mind. It’s a beautiful, creative, ever-expanding entity that has served me well until present day. The Sutras state that humans are Spirits inhabiting bodies with minds yet we are neither. I think, I like my body too. What’s with the self-deprecation? There’s redemptive suffering for days here. I’m still too close to how Christianity wielded that weapon against me to buy in. The arguments about happiness being a choice completely omit oppression can be interpreted as letting victimizers off the hook. Personal responsibility over everything is practically a mantra which I have issues with. See above. Readers are implored to rid themselves of desire. I like a little of my ego. I like fulfilling my desires. I grew up with lack and am just now starting to appreciate nice things. After all these years, I’m not about to let the desires I just gave myself permission to have go. There’s talk of transcendence and surrender and accomplishments and absoluteness and that’s where I drew my line. I am totally okay with not being fully enlightened in this lifetime. It’s not that I’m afraid of the work, I honestly, just don’t want to. I’m a black American woman. My whole existence is about less. Why would I want to follow a practice that seems to want me to have less of less? After I took the pressure off, I really enjoyed the book. Satchidananda is funny. His modern examples are easy to understand. His explanations of the three types of karma were fascinating. I dug every nature metaphor or reference. Once I gave myself permission to take what I needed and leave the rest, the world of The Sutras really opened up to me. I’m actually looking forward to reading it again in 10 years so that Ebony can meet the sutras from a completely different vantage point.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Prasetyo

    This book is the best translation of Patanjali's works that I found. It is because the author is living with the wisdom of The Yoga Sutras. This book contains the the translations of The Yoga Sutras, and the explanation about the meaning and the goal of each sutras, and Sri Swami Satchidananda's explanation is a very easy read, even if you never know the yoga philosophy before. Just read 1 sutra each day and practice it, you will see a dramatic changes in your life. If you just read 1 book about This book is the best translation of Patanjali's works that I found. It is because the author is living with the wisdom of The Yoga Sutras. This book contains the the translations of The Yoga Sutras, and the explanation about the meaning and the goal of each sutras, and Sri Swami Satchidananda's explanation is a very easy read, even if you never know the yoga philosophy before. Just read 1 sutra each day and practice it, you will see a dramatic changes in your life. If you just read 1 book about The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, this is the book, period!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    The very first sutra sets up the book so well, “If the restraint of the mental modifications is achieved, one has reached the goal of yoga.” (pg. 3) I like this because it shows that even though a person may not be able to move through all the asanas perfectly, they can still perform yoga by controlling their mind. If we can learn that the entire outside world is our own projection, then we can control our attitude. “Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude towards them d The very first sutra sets up the book so well, “If the restraint of the mental modifications is achieved, one has reached the goal of yoga.” (pg. 3) I like this because it shows that even though a person may not be able to move through all the asanas perfectly, they can still perform yoga by controlling their mind. If we can learn that the entire outside world is our own projection, then we can control our attitude. “Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude towards them does that.” (pg 5) I have felt many times in my life a lack of control. By learning to control my attitude, I can control a situation that may seem out of control. We also need to learn to detach ourselves from the identifications of “mother,” “wife,” “tall,” “child,” etc. If we take these titles away, we are all the same. Then we will have achieved the union of yoga. I identified with his teachings of the way that we expect things of others. If we expect someone to love us, sometimes we experience jealousy, unhappiness, and pain. This is because we have placed an expectation on the person that we love. This is selfishness. He says in order to be happy, we need to bring happiness to others. We learn to develop positive thoughts and thereby remove the negative ones. He says that it is ok to desire things because pure, selfless desire has no expectation and so it knows no disappointment. I love this statement, “When you make someone happy, you see his or her happy face and you feel happy yourself.” (pg 24) You will then look for the opportunities to create this happiness again. In closing, I will work to remember these four attitudes: friendliness, compassion, gladness, and indifference. In encountering others, I can choose one of these four “keys” with which to approach them. In this way, my inner peace will not be disturbed and nothing in the world can affect me. The goal is to keep a serene mind and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali offers many tools in which to do so.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Monica Perez

    This book showed me that coming to the end of external knowledge about God is actually the beginning of the journey to look inward and know His nature. Made me interested in the early Christian Gnostics who believed we could know God through his reflection in ourselves. Also introduced me to the concept that the question of the existence of God is unanswerable and irrelevant--you can't prove it or disprove it, and no matter what, the path to contentment in this life is the same as the path to co This book showed me that coming to the end of external knowledge about God is actually the beginning of the journey to look inward and know His nature. Made me interested in the early Christian Gnostics who believed we could know God through his reflection in ourselves. Also introduced me to the concept that the question of the existence of God is unanswerable and irrelevant--you can't prove it or disprove it, and no matter what, the path to contentment in this life is the same as the path to contentment in the next life: freeing yourself from the cycle of desire. Find the path and live it--if you do, you will maximize happiness and fulfillment in this life whether or not there's an afterlife and if there happens to be an afterlife, you will be well-prepared for it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Klein

    There are countless interpretations and commentaries on the Yoga Sutras, originally compiled by Patanjali thousands of years ago. Personally, I've only read 2 others before reading this version, so my point of reference may be considered narrow. I found Swami Satchidananda's version to be informative and somewhat blunt - and I mean that in a good way. He uses a few modern examples throughout the text to help improve the reader's understanding. This book was originally published in 1978 and the e There are countless interpretations and commentaries on the Yoga Sutras, originally compiled by Patanjali thousands of years ago. Personally, I've only read 2 others before reading this version, so my point of reference may be considered narrow. I found Swami Satchidananda's version to be informative and somewhat blunt - and I mean that in a good way. He uses a few modern examples throughout the text to help improve the reader's understanding. This book was originally published in 1978 and the examples he uses still apply (both ironic and sad). His attempt to explain the overall concept of "never-ending consciousness" that is a key part of the spirituality of Yoga felt a bit incomplete, or at the very least, confusing. His use of the word God to symbolize said consciousness made it hard to distinguish between the Christian concept of God and the yogic concept of consciousness/God/Light ... etc. If you are looking for a complete commentary on the Yoga Sutras, this is not the book for you. Swami summarizes and skips over certain sutras entirely within Books 3 & 4. Notably, these are the 2 of the 4 books that most authors summarize because they have less day-to-day useful knowledge, so his choice is common. Personally, I am very happy that I took the time to read this interpretation of the Yoga Sutras and I'd widely recommend it to others, especially those delving into the world of teaching Yoga. That being said, this isn't a be-all end-all translation (no book is), so I implore you to read other Yoga Sutras commentaries as well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    I read one or two sutras before each yoga practice. After finally finishing it, I know I need to go back to it and study the sutras with some intensity. There is much wisdom bestowed in these pages, and there were many moments while reading, I gained clarity on the way I interact and respond with my environment. Highly recommended for any devoted yoga practitioner, but also for those who are interested in asian philosophy. Although yoga is not defined by one religion, the influences of Hinduism a I read one or two sutras before each yoga practice. After finally finishing it, I know I need to go back to it and study the sutras with some intensity. There is much wisdom bestowed in these pages, and there were many moments while reading, I gained clarity on the way I interact and respond with my environment. Highly recommended for any devoted yoga practitioner, but also for those who are interested in asian philosophy. Although yoga is not defined by one religion, the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism are apparent. I liked how Satchidananda used present day examples to explain the sutras and did not hesitate to incorporate science.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen Schellhorn

    Though I cannot sit and read this book in full - I love that I can open to a page and that it makes so much helpful sense.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate Lumsden

    very accessible introduction to the yoga sutras

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Thomas Gulden

    Satchitananda's translation and commentary on Patanjali's Sutras is the best edition I've read. He makes these often pretty inscrutable ancient texts come alive with great clarity and even occasional humor. I treasure reading and meditating on these often. Satchitananda's translation and commentary on Patanjali's Sutras is the best edition I've read. He makes these often pretty inscrutable ancient texts come alive with great clarity and even occasional humor. I treasure reading and meditating on these often.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karan

    Praise be! Read on time for the upcoming teacher training weekend. Well worth the read in this context, some excellent teachings here (from 2000+ years ago), and also some provocation - always good to question rather than accept with blind faith. I understand there's another version from a feminist perspective - I'll search it out. Also, the expansion of final sutra of the final (4th) book reminded me of something I was told in Pikangikum one time, that I absolutely did not get, had to do with b Praise be! Read on time for the upcoming teacher training weekend. Well worth the read in this context, some excellent teachings here (from 2000+ years ago), and also some provocation - always good to question rather than accept with blind faith. I understand there's another version from a feminist perspective - I'll search it out. Also, the expansion of final sutra of the final (4th) book reminded me of something I was told in Pikangikum one time, that I absolutely did not get, had to do with being in a particular state, where you were not responsible for your actions. Seeing it here in another context has me rethinking, but still not yet understanding. I wish I could go back to Pik. I suppose I can. A good topic for conversation. The sutra: Thus, the supreme state of Independence manifests while the gunas* reabsorb themselves into Prakrti**, having no more purpose to serve the Purusa***. Or [to look at it from the other angle] the power of pure consciousness settles into its own pure nature. * gunas are the three qualities of nature, balance, activity and inertia (sattva, rajas and tamas) ** Prakrti is Nature *** is the divine Self

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sean Helvey

    Loved it! Wrote a blog post with my notes here: http://www.seanhelvey.com/notes-on-th... Hope this helps. Loved it! Wrote a blog post with my notes here: http://www.seanhelvey.com/notes-on-th... Hope this helps.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    A great starting point for getting into the Yoga Sutras. Sri Swami Satchidananda's commentary is unique because it was not written down but originated through informal lectures he would teach to his students. It is a recorded conversation in keeping with how the yoga sutras were traditionally passed down through oral tradition. There are great analogies and tangents that reinforce the conversational style of this text. I really loved this commentary and it's made me determined to read a few more A great starting point for getting into the Yoga Sutras. Sri Swami Satchidananda's commentary is unique because it was not written down but originated through informal lectures he would teach to his students. It is a recorded conversation in keeping with how the yoga sutras were traditionally passed down through oral tradition. There are great analogies and tangents that reinforce the conversational style of this text. I really loved this commentary and it's made me determined to read a few more commentaries about the sutras. I also read this alongside Desikachar's translations and commentary of the Yoga Sutras found in The Heart of Yoga and it is interesting to note the similarities and the differences. What I found particularly interesting in Sri Swami Satchidananda's commentary was how it was rooted in its time period. There are conversations about bombs and casual sex. Highly recommend this read. Also, beautiful cover! It is so calming and blue.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lui Debono

    A yoga classic that contains a lot of wisdom. Must be read carefully 'cause every verse has a very specific meaning and contains a beautiful yogic wisdom. Written 2,000 years ago Patanjali's yoga sutras are still applicable to all the yogis of the present day. A good commentary is a must. I also found that Sivananda Swami version of the book and the OSHO Rajneesh version is a valuable read for the good comparison and understanding of the sutras. A yoga classic that contains a lot of wisdom. Must be read carefully 'cause every verse has a very specific meaning and contains a beautiful yogic wisdom. Written 2,000 years ago Patanjali's yoga sutras are still applicable to all the yogis of the present day. A good commentary is a must. I also found that Sivananda Swami version of the book and the OSHO Rajneesh version is a valuable read for the good comparison and understanding of the sutras.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    Yoga means to ‘Yoke”. The Sutras are the method of yoking yourself to Yoga. The original Hellenistic Greek which was the ‘Lingua Franca” of pre Christian interpretations of the Bible had two definitions of Yoke. One was for Yoga and the other was to yoke two oxen together. Jesus said that his “yoke” was easy. I am convinced that this is a deliberate misinterpretation of the New Testament and the real meaning was that Jesus was referring to “Yoga” or “ My Yoga is easy” which makes more sense in t Yoga means to ‘Yoke”. The Sutras are the method of yoking yourself to Yoga. The original Hellenistic Greek which was the ‘Lingua Franca” of pre Christian interpretations of the Bible had two definitions of Yoke. One was for Yoga and the other was to yoke two oxen together. Jesus said that his “yoke” was easy. I am convinced that this is a deliberate misinterpretation of the New Testament and the real meaning was that Jesus was referring to “Yoga” or “ My Yoga is easy” which makes more sense in that time frame than to be talking about oxen.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    This is the must read for most new yoga teachers. The exploration of Patanjalis guidance for yogis is essential for anyone who wants to teach or deepen their practice. However, I do not personally think this is the only interpretation one should read. I'd recommend also looking at TKV Desikachar and modern thinkers like Matthew Remski to really dig deep into the sutras, and find a way to relate to them. This is the must read for most new yoga teachers. The exploration of Patanjalis guidance for yogis is essential for anyone who wants to teach or deepen their practice. However, I do not personally think this is the only interpretation one should read. I'd recommend also looking at TKV Desikachar and modern thinkers like Matthew Remski to really dig deep into the sutras, and find a way to relate to them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    Ooo gosh, what to say about the sutras? And I guess I should 'review' the commentary rather than the sutras themselves.... The sutras are stuff like 'the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga' so they are kinda impenetrable and it's helpful to have the commentary. This commentary is from 1978 I think, and it has a bit of a seventies feel to it in a slightly sexist gender binary way. There are also some lovely bits and interpretations, also the cover is a delight. Ooo gosh, what to say about the sutras? And I guess I should 'review' the commentary rather than the sutras themselves.... The sutras are stuff like 'the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga' so they are kinda impenetrable and it's helpful to have the commentary. This commentary is from 1978 I think, and it has a bit of a seventies feel to it in a slightly sexist gender binary way. There are also some lovely bits and interpretations, also the cover is a delight.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This is my bible. Hardly have completed reading it. And what I have read I need to re-read. Great book for meditation topics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sydra Mallery

    The commentary was more accessible than that in the Iyengar version. I am glad to have read both.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beth Honeycutt

    This is a book that I read pieces and parts of for my yoga teacher training this weekend. It is one of those books that I will come back to over and over again.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This text is absolutely essential to the history of yoga. I read this for the first time outside of a yoga teacher training because it's a text I thought you were "supposed" to read if you do yoga. Honestly I've never been that into it. However, it's 1000x more refreshing the second time through, I think spending the past 5 months discussing/analyzing it in training has helped. I don't know what I'd do without our yoga philosophy instructor, she has gathered such DETAILED historical and lineage This text is absolutely essential to the history of yoga. I read this for the first time outside of a yoga teacher training because it's a text I thought you were "supposed" to read if you do yoga. Honestly I've never been that into it. However, it's 1000x more refreshing the second time through, I think spending the past 5 months discussing/analyzing it in training has helped. I don't know what I'd do without our yoga philosophy instructor, she has gathered such DETAILED historical and lineage based context that compliment the sutras, I don't doubt she'll publish her own book someday. If you are coming into this cold, I suggest additional translations with different commentaries. Due to our training being of the Tantric lineage (Shiva/Shakti / everything is divine, you are divine), I find that Patanjali is quite silly at times. He's all about *leaving* the body, transcending it, with very little focus on the physical practice of yoga. It's interesting to see how the general Western public misses this- I know I did when I read it years ago. Either way, still a captivating text for learning.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Justin Chiu

    The term sutra means 'thread' and the yoga sutras are a very bare-bones collection of aphorisms/phrases that delineate the practice and philosophy of yoga, of which the asanas or postures(which most people consider to be the entirety of yoga), occupy 1 sentence. Due to the nature of the sutras, their translation and further elaboration are important in order to gain value from them. Swami satchidananda intersperses his translation of the sutras with personal examples from his life and philosophy The term sutra means 'thread' and the yoga sutras are a very bare-bones collection of aphorisms/phrases that delineate the practice and philosophy of yoga, of which the asanas or postures(which most people consider to be the entirety of yoga), occupy 1 sentence. Due to the nature of the sutras, their translation and further elaboration are important in order to gain value from them. Swami satchidananda intersperses his translation of the sutras with personal examples from his life and philosophy, making them highly understandable and applicable in our daily lives. He avoids the more esoteric verses on yogi 'superpowers' and focuses more on the practical aspects of the practice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Brimhall

    At the end of this book we are told that this book, yoga, scriptures, etc. are not here for the real us (the true self) because our true selves don’t need to study these things. Who we truly are already understand all of this. However, because our egos get in the way of truth and who we actually are, things like this book, scripture, and yoga were created. For that, I’m so grateful.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth Webb

    I read this book for my yoga teacher training, and it helped me deepen my understanding of yoga. I could relate the yoga philosophy and practice to my own life. The book fosters deep contemplation about the meaning behind the authors words. It is written beautifully and an eye opening book. (:

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This is book to be absorbed, practiced and then reread over and over. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were written thousands of years ago in Sanskrit so this is Sri Swami Satchidanada’s translation and explanation of the Sutras. It’s the Bible of practicing Raja Yoga. In summary “As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” If you feel bound , you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude toward This is book to be absorbed, practiced and then reread over and over. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were written thousands of years ago in Sanskrit so this is Sri Swami Satchidanada’s translation and explanation of the Sutras. It’s the Bible of practicing Raja Yoga. In summary “As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” If you feel bound , you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anne Charlotte LE DIOT

    Useful everytime you lose touch with the ground for whatever reason. Just remember your spirit is playing tricks on you. None of this is real !

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    A foundational text for yoga practitioners or anyone seeking a closer bond between body, mind, and soul. The commentary is quite helpful, providing a jumping off point for further exploration. Which is exactly what Patanjali inspires: a lifetime of investigation.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Togo Jalika

    I have read seven different versions of commentaries on the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali often reading a few versions side by side to understand various perspectives. What made this version enjoyable to me is how Sri Swami Satchidananda offers so many practical, humorous, and accessible stories and insights to help you make sense of this ancient teaching on yoga (which is still so relevant today). The only reason it did not get five stars is the commentary pretty much drops off by Book Three (of th I have read seven different versions of commentaries on the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali often reading a few versions side by side to understand various perspectives. What made this version enjoyable to me is how Sri Swami Satchidananda offers so many practical, humorous, and accessible stories and insights to help you make sense of this ancient teaching on yoga (which is still so relevant today). The only reason it did not get five stars is the commentary pretty much drops off by Book Three (of the Four Books on the Yoga Sutras) and practically does not exist by Book Four. I was enjoying the commentary so much I wish it had continued. Still, it offers a good doorway into a complex subject by someone who knows and lives the teachings inside out.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

    The Yoga Sutras, the key text in the study of yoga, is an ancient text dating back at least 2000 years. The sutras were compiled by the sage Patanjali (pah-TAN-ja-lee). Patanjali didn't invent the concept of yoga, but he made a system of it by bringing together all the existing teachings and traditions and giving them a structure for students to follow. The word "sutra" means "thread" - the text is a collection of almost 200 brief "threads" of wisdom. Patanjali used as few words as possible in e The Yoga Sutras, the key text in the study of yoga, is an ancient text dating back at least 2000 years. The sutras were compiled by the sage Patanjali (pah-TAN-ja-lee). Patanjali didn't invent the concept of yoga, but he made a system of it by bringing together all the existing teachings and traditions and giving them a structure for students to follow. The word "sutra" means "thread" - the text is a collection of almost 200 brief "threads" of wisdom. Patanjali used as few words as possible in each sutra with the idea that students would be learning from an established teacher, who would expound upon each sutra in turn. Sri Swami Satchidananda takes on that role in this translation of the sutras and the accompanying commentary. The sutras are traditionally grouped into four books: Book One, Contemplation; Book Two, Practice; Book Three, Accomplishments; and Book Four, Absoluteness. For most students, just reading Books One and Two is sufficient - the last two books contain the more esoteric teachings. For my teacher training we actually started by jumping right in with Book Two, the practical teachings, and this certainly isn't a bad idea. For Patanjali, the physical practice of yoga is simply a means of calming the mind, and the vast majority of the sutras are about the mind; it can be a little easier for the modern student to begin with the practical sutras in Book Two before working on the contemplative sutras in Book One. This version of the sutras follows a helpful format: for each sutra, the original Sanskrit is given, along with the Sanskrit transliteration, the literal translation, and finally a translation set in readable English prose. This is a helpful structure because it can appeal both to the serious Sanskrit student as well as to the beginning student (who can just skip right to the English). After each sutra follows commentary from Swami Satchidananda. At first I found the commentary to be rather dry, but after journeying through the whole book I came to enjoy his tone and appreciate his stories. Satchidananda's translations of the sutras are very straightforward, and his commentary really elucidates each sutra and gets to the heart of what Patanjali is saying. Overall, this is a good translation of the Yoga Sutras for beginning students, and for those who have studied the sutras before, Satchidananda's commentary is a worthwhile reason to choose this edition for a re-read.

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