The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali
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The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  543 ratings  ·  69 reviews
“A wonderful translation, full of contemporary insight yet luminous with eternal truth.”—Jacob Needleman

The Yoga Sutras were cast in their present form in India around the third century b.c. Yoga is from the Sanskrit root meaning “union,” and a sutra is a thread or aphoristic verse. The basic questions “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What is the purpose of life?” are aske...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published by Nabu Press (first published March 17th 2010)
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cary hardin
Jan 18, 2008 cary hardin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone & everyone
The Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali is one of the central texts of yoga. In 195 succinct statements, Patanjali defines yoga and the core components of the practice of Classical Yoga. Pre-dating the development of Hatha Yoga* by as much as a thousand years, this ancient text is among the first self-help books based more on philosophy than theology. Although a spiritual document, the book doesn't deal with specific gods, chakras, kundalini or other trappings of the varied yogic traditions. And it doe...more
It was hard to label this book as "read", as I will be reading from this for many many years. The text itself provides insight and advice for anyone, on any kind of journey. The translation is clear, and Bryant's commentary is thorough and thoughtful. This text is best explored with a teacher, guru, or at least a small group of people.
A dense book I frequently pick up and put down as I "chew on" each precept. Loving it so far...
Dennis Littrell
Shearer, Alistair, trans, ed. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (2002) ****
Engaging translation but not the best commentary

This book was first published in London in 1982 as Effortless Being: the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I assume the translation of the sutras is the same while Shearer, who is a disciple of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, has updated his Introduction. The text is presented in a sky blue color that is easy on the eyes and does not distract from the meaning of the words. The design by Barba...more
David Smith
Arguably the most articulate English translation available. This translation is indispensable to any serious English speaking practitioner of Yoga. One does not simply 'read' The Yoga Sutras, they are to be studied. This translation provides the Sanskrit text alongside the English and is complete with a pronunciation guide and glossary. If I could only have 5 books, this is one of them.
Tomme Fent
I find this interpretation much more accessible than Swami Satchidananda's interpretation.
Bernie Gourley
There are about a billion editions of Patanjali’s The Yoga Sutras. The one I got was a free or very cheap on Kindle, and is, therefore, probably not the best edition. I don’t know that the Kindle version I got still exists because it included a supplemental essay by Swami Vivekananda that the version I linked to on Amazon doesn’t. However, the translation is the same, and is by Charles Johnston.

For many old works, the edition might not matter too much, but for Patanjali’s Sutras it matters a gr...more
Scott Bischke
From my blog post about this book; see

I spent some time looking for a book about Patañjali's Yoga Sutras. I've got some idea now just what sutra's are, but I want better insight into the content of Patañjali's take on the sutras as they relate to yoga, and more broadly to life.

So I started where I often start, looking for a book on the topic. I found no shortage of versions of Patañjali's Yoga Sutras, as well as no shortage of opinions on those books. Of...more
Armen Melikian
The author has carefully reviewed the primary sources of yoga, including the major historical commentaries, in a painstaking attempt to provide a thorough intellectual background and analysis of Patanjali’s often-abstruse yoga sutras. He has done a remarkable job, but one that has fundamental shortcomings.

A commendable point is the author’s own philosophical outlook, surfacing throughout the book in snippets of criticism of the consumerist conception of yoga in the West—which is indeed an utter...more
Victoria Klein
The Yoga Sutras is the pulsing core of the practice of Yoga - which is much more in-depth than the mere asana/postures that are so very popular in the West.

Unfortunately, the original sutras are presented in an extremely simplistic fashion, meant to be “unpacked” by a long-time teacher, according to the traditional Indian system.

Because of this, there are countless translations + commentaries of the The Yoga Sutras available in-print today (2 of which I’ve read + reviewed before).

Edwin Bryant’s...more
Polly Trout
The amount of time I've spent rereading Asian scriptures in the past month is embarrassing, but its an obsession that always helps me pull myself together when I'm crazy and heartbroken. I spent a few weeks reading this one every single morning (don't panic - it's short and only takes about 20 minutes if you skip the commentary), and it cheered me up enormously. Shearer's translation is accessible, clean, and elegant -- but not particularly accurate. It is a good gateway translation to the text,...more
Scott Forbes
This book is very illuminating. It reveals certain spiritual truths that you cannot find in any other book.

It is a commentary by Vivekananda on the basic text of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, which is a classic without the commentary. But with the commentary, is a logical awakening to the path to God marked out in this basic text. You can read just Patanjali, but why, when you can read it and have an explanation to the sometimes too-consise prose by Swami Vivekananda?

Without reading this book, you wi...more
PTS Books Club
A contemporary interpretation of the foundational text for the practice of yoga.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (second century CE) is the basic text of one of the nine canonical schools of Indian philosophy. In it the legendary author lays down the blueprint for success in yoga, now practised the world over. Patañjali draws upon many ideas of his time, and the result is a unique work of Indian moral philosophy that has been the foundational text for the practice of yoga since.

The Yoga Sutra sets out a s...more
The teachings collected in this book resonate very strongly with my own sense of spirituality. The sutras themselves can seem a little obscure, but the commentator does a good job of attempting to explain them from what I could tell.

This doesn't take too long to read and doesn't seem as if it would be too difficult for most to comprehend.

Check another spiritual text off the list of things I'd like to read someday. This one was most enjoyable.
Becky Schaaf
I find it difficult to give this book five stars for two reasons. One, I have not read other translations of/commentaries on the Yoga Sutras to know how it compares to other texts. And two, I found the topics covered by the sutras themselves of variable interest. Despite these misgivings, I can't bring myself to give this book less than five stars because I was extraordinarily impressed with how well delivered the commentaries are. Drawing primarily from classical commentaries but also weaving i...more
Heather Pagano
I have a soft spot for this volume since it was a core text in my YTT training. I think it's a good introduction to the Sutras. Front material puts what you're about to read into perspective. The poetic reading gives a feeling for what the verses are about from the interpreter's point of view. Next is a useful summary breaking down chunks of text and what they concern. Following the summary is my favorite section, which breaks down the individual Sanskrit verses word by word as though you were l...more
I used this book as a key text for the summer yoga intensives I am teaching at the moment. Every few years I come across a different interpretation of the sutras that becomes important to me and this is the one at the moment. Shearer himself likens the sutras to a mountain climb. He says that it it is hard to explain the view from a mountain top and while we can be encouraged and guided we can only accomplish the climb in stages. I really like this reflection.
Often sutra interpretations are the...more
I so loved the Yoga Sutras and can't wait to read them again. This is like a manual for life and I only wish I would have read it before. This translation is extremely accessible and a pretty quick read. Book 2 was my favorite, and Book 4 gets a bit esoteric but still offers lessons for everyday life. Can't wait to see how the Sutras affect me next time I read them.
Sirpa Grierson
Deceptively simple to read, I assume that many lifetimes need to be undergone to achieve "Sanmaya [which] results in the "state in which activity and silence are equally balanced in the mind" (3.12) Shearer explains that "When this balance is permanent, there is enlightenment." 83

I return to this text over and over in order to understand fragments. As Shearer writes in his wonderful introduction, "Yoga is a way to restore our lost wholeness, our integrity as complete human beings, by unifying th...more
Mono Venus
Estoy tan contenta de que me dejaran este libro de tarea, no sólo es un manual para entender mejor el yoga, es un manual para la vida y el despertar de la mente.
Reading this as part of my curriculum, the translation & the documentary that forms the Introduction is a very good way of explaining to the reader the essence of Patanjali's sutras. Sutras being a condensed & meaningful string of words, or a verse, that hold the potent knowledge that needs to be transmitted. Like a capsule that contains the knowledge to be conveyed. Loved it. But as correctly suggested, Patanjali's sutras are by no mean a once read-over & shelved book, it is more li...more
Well... I picked up this book a little more than 2 years ago and have pecked and pecked away at it. Often times, having to start over from scratch - to make sure that I "got" the point of each verse. Yeah, it's that important. Basically a blueprint for living yoga - way beyond the mat, the Yoga Sutras tells one the benefits of living mindfully, practicing yoga & meditation and just, living well. And even though I have finally worked my way to the back cover - I am sure that I will never be d...more
Re-reading so I can write my next assignment for yoga school. Writing prompt is: identify 5 sutras that speak to you and write one page on why.

Basically the Bible of yoga, complete with passive-aggressive deity who hands out "merits" or "demerits" according to your behavior. Some interesting ideas on the components of yoga, and a really interesting/bizarre section on supernatural powers save this from being like a bad sermon.
This is a very focused, coherent, poetic, and accessible interpretation of the sutras. The focus of this interpretation is the liberation of the spiritual man from the veils and meshes of the psychic nature.

This book is in the public domain. I made a free audio recording of it for librivox, an all-volunteer project that records books in the public domain. The recording can be found here:
Karla Becker
Jun 10, 2011 Karla Becker rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Road
Shelves: spiritual
Accessible translation of the Yoga Sutras. Nice and small pocketbook that fit easily in my purse for reading in the grocery line! One of my favorite sutras is Sutra 16: "Supreme freedom is that complete liberation from the world of change that comes of knowing the unbounded Self." What this means to me is that no matter what happens, that by surrendering it all to God, we are God (the unbounded Self), and in God, we are whole.
From all the translations available (that I have flicked through or read in part along the way) this offered the most literal translations and in depth discussions on each sutra and is very eloquently written. I did find myself dipping into other translations to find for more 'easy on the ears' descriptions but if you only buy one (which appears to be rare) then this book will serve you well.
Oaktreeyoga Recommended
Probably the most readable and easily understandable of the Yoga Sutra translations. Mukunda is my teacher and a yoga student of some 40 years, so his knowledge and understanding is tremendous.
NB there is no commentary - this is simply a translation. A commentary is useful as some of the concepts in the Sutras require some explanation.
Vikrant Singh
Exceptionally out-of-the Universe book from a spiritual and scientific point of view.Never was and never will be a book written with such a mix of spiritual and scientific knowledge merged into one. Not to be missed by curious mind. You may need to read some Hindu spiritual books and meditate a little to get the deeper meanings.
Four densely-packed sutras on achieving union with the Supreme. These aren't poetic rhapsodies; they read more like lecture notes from a science professor. Every aspect of this "spiritual science" is broken down, dissected, labeled, and explicated. Much more here than I was prepared to understand. Maybe I'll revisit another time.
This is my most favorite spiritual book for explaining deeply what is the spiritual nature of a human being. The deep wisdom in the words of a sutra I can contemplate for days. Reading a sutra soothes me and often puts me in a state of meditation. I find this book very inspiring for my soul. I often reread it. I keep it next to my bed.
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Patañjali (Devanāgarī पतञ्जलि) (fl. 150 BCE or 2nd c. BCE) is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, and also the author of the Mahābhāṣya, a major commentary on Pāṇini's Ashtadhyayi. However, it is unlikely that these two works are that of the same author.

In recent decades the Yoga Sutra has become quite popular worldwide for the precepts regarding...more
More about Patañjali...
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A Study Guide for Book I Samadhi Pada Yoga Vision: A Selection of Yoga Sutras The Yoga-System of Patanjali (or the Ancient Hindu Doctrine of Concentration of Mind) Yoga, A Experiência da Alma: Psicologia Mística e Alquimia Interior Patanjala Yoga Sutra: Yoga Darsana: Mula, Padaccheda, Anuvada, Evam Vyakhya

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“Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” 109 likes
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