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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  926 ratings  ·  81 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
ebook, 144 pages
Published March 24th 2010 by Harmony (first published December 31st 1974)
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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.
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
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
finito non è la parola esatta, perché questo testo- fondamentale per chi pratica yoga- si presta a infinite riletture e meditazioni. in pochi insegnamenti, niente affatto semplici, viene espressa una via da percorrere per superare l'illusione del quotidiano e rifiorire nella pratica e nell'unione. eccellente e sintetico l'apparato di commento.
A dense book I frequently pick up and put down as I "chew on" each precept. Loving it so far...
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
Michinio Camorelli
It's ridiculous how some people comment on this book - like it is a scientific work titled "Semantic web varieties and applications in modern health informatics - meta-analysis" :)

Also, I've noticed it's a trend to compare different spiritual literature, discussing theism-atheism dichotomy in Kapila-Sankhya lineage, bla-bla. This is ABSOLUTELY misunderstanding of the point of this and other spiritual books. Here is just a great sample comment to let you know what I mean:

"A commendable point is t
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.
Until Patanjali wrote his original yoga sutras about 4000 years ago, there was no written record about yoga, even though it was already being practiced for centuries. Sutra in Sanksrit means a thread that holds things together. Each of Patanjali's short, sharp and succinct sutras is like a little knot in the thread, to be teased apart for its wisdom. So there are several translations and interpretations of his work, and I've read quite a few. All of them have something to say - with a different ...more
Ruth Angela
poor translation: horrible interpretation of a Masterpiece

Do not buy this book! There are many better versions. This one will create more struggle and confusion. The person who wrote it never even edited it. That person just went to meaningless sources to find useless tidbits of poems...not even giving the authors credit. Shameful plagiarism and on top of that he/she does not have the least comprehension of the depths of meaning in the verses. This is what happens when sacred scriptures are usur
Tomme Fent
I find this interpretation much more accessible than Swami Satchidananda's interpretation.
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. Oft
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
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
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
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
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
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
Darshana Jayemanne
Performs the complex task of conveying over a millennium's worth of commentary - both traditional and academic (in a more contemporary sense) - with great success. Places the rather gnomic Sutras in the context of the philosophical milieu of South Asia in a way that is clearly derived from considerable scholarly experience but is also accessible to the non-specialist.
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
This version is full of mistakes. I don't think the conversion to electronic was proofed.

The translator works, it seems, to speak elusively and ethereally, making his explanations hard to follow.

The original work, as I understand it from the translation, is beautiful and simple.
Ali Al-Yassen
يقول احد المتخصصين ان هذا الكتاب ثاني اهم كتب الادب او الفلسفة الهندية . حقيقة النص مختصر و رمزي و بحاجة الى شرح كثير لذلك لا استطيع ان اقول اني فهمت كل مطالب الكتاب . في كل حال من الاحوال لم اجده ينافس الداو دي جنغ في السحر الادبي
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
Well, Mr Bryant works are inspiring and informative. (To author) Thanks for your contribution.
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Patañjali (Devanāgarī पतञजलि) (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 about Patañjali...
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A Study Guide for Book I Samadhi Pada The Yoga-System of Patanjali (or the Ancient Hindu Doctrine of Concentration of Mind) Yoga Vision: A Selection of Yoga Sutras LOS YOGASUTRAS DE PATANJALI Yoga, A Experiência da Alma: Psicologia Mística e Alquimia Interior

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