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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,680 Ratings  ·  116 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
Paperback, 222 pages
Published February 1st 1991 by Albin Michel
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Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karan Bajaj
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From Christ to Buddha to Rumi to Mohammed, mystics through the entire history of human life have had stunningly similar experiences of the ultimate reality, the One who cannot be expressed. Patanjali, the mystic-intellectual from 2nd century BC, has a true gift for expressing this ultimate reality. He collated the entire body of ancient Eastern yoga in a taut, highly readable summary. In my view, this is the only book you need to dive into the heart of Eastern spirituality. For me, this is the m ...more
Dennis Littrell
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
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
Michinio Camorelli
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-hold
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
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bernie Gourley
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
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
David Haberlah
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
If there would be only one single book that I could recommend to aspiring Yoginis and Yogis, it would be this peerless translation of and commentary on the classic text on Yoga!

This is simply the most comprehensive and readable translation and concordance of 15 centuries of commentaries on the Yoga Sûtra by Patanjali. It is an exceptionally well researched work, full of insight and interesting references. I find it particularly valuable in providing the historical context of interpretations and
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dense book I frequently pick up and put down as I "chew on" each precept. Loving it so far...
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Polly Trout
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Smith
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rewards many rereadings....
Tomme Fent
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
I find this interpretation much more accessible than Swami Satchidananda's interpretation.
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the most understandable translation I have read. I enjoyed it! Now I feel lead to study this side by side with another version and see what I can decipher from between the lines.
Ying Zhao
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
This book is one which you constantly go back to.
Michael Lloyd-Billington
I will try to expand this review later when I have more time, but for the moment I need to be brief, so I will start by saying I can comfortably call Edwin Bryant's version the least-helpful translation & commentary I've read (out of about 30 at this point). The reasons for this require & deserve more time, especially as the work itself represents a vast degree of effort on the author's behalf, but for now there are four primary points I will make: 1. First & foremost, Bryant's style ...more
Christine Mckenna
Wonderful resource. Foreword and Introduction, chapter summaries and notes offer valuable insights to anyone interested in this text. Discussion of each aphorism (or sūtra) in light of the most influential available commentary (by Vyāsa) adds tremendous value.

For students of the Sanskrit language, this book offers more--Sanskrit text along with the English translation and a word index.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga, philosophy
This has become one of my favorite translations of the Yoga Sutras, having read a few different versions during my years of study and practice.
Neeraj Shukla
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. Patanjali would be someone I would like to converse with in 2017. He was way way ahead of his time.

The intellectual depth of this book is astounding.
Marts  (Thinker)
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Discovery of mind, self and peace...
Armen Melikian
Feb 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
AJ Dreadfulwater
"That which unites is called Yoga." -Patanjali

A simple, yet brilliant foundational text of yogic philosophy. Patanjali writes the on the eight limbs of yoga and progression of the yogi via the limbs of "the organic process" of enlightenment. A non religious, but spiritual and philosophic text for all!
Ulf Wolf
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is nothing short of a miracle.

If I may be allowed to beat an old, worn cliche to death a little more: the one book (if I could only bring one) that I'd bring to that fabled desert island: Yes, this one.

Bryant is a brilliant scholar and an amazing communicator. When it comes to relaying intricate and sometimes conflicting views about esoteric angles of abstruse subjects, care (above all else) is called for, and Bryant cares, cares very deeply to get the point across as clearly and as vi
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
Deana Morris
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many translations of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. This one is pleasingly succinct and and tells us how to reach Enlightenment with a poetic turn of phrase that remains crystal clear.

I'm not a fan of waffle. I go with this one. You'll read it over and over, gleaning more clarity with every return. Research around its theories, for sure, but this is a great keystone.
PTS Books Club
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este ilbro es un trabajo verdaderamente colosal. Bryant no solo hizo una nueva traducción de los sutras de Patañjali, palabra por palabra, del Sánscrito al inglés sino que también logró estructurar un comentario coherente, exhaustivo y, a la vez, accesible para todos con base en los comentaristas clásicos y modernos que a lo largo de 15 siglos han tratado de interpretar y descodificar este sistema filosófico. Bryant aporta también sus propias conjeturas e interpretaciones y lo hace siempre con r ...more
Scott Forbes
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Heather Pagano
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga, classics
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
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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...

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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.” 190 likes
“For those who have an intense urge for Spirit and wisdom, it sits
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