Exploring Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Join enough yoga classes at Essence of Living, and it’s just a matter of time before one (or all!) or your teachers mentions a quote or insight from the Yoga Sutras. The sutras are often called the yogi’s “bible” and with good reason! This ancient guide was written at least 1,700 years ago and comprises 195 aphorisms or ‘sutras’.

Patanjali is the great sage who authored or compiled the sutras. As famous as he (or she!) is, very little is known about Patanjali. Analysis of the sutras estimates the sage lived somewhere within the 4th or 5th century CE.

Patanjali’s yoga sutras have been translated and commented on by many people over the years. Our favourite translation is The Essence of Yoga: Reflections on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali by Bernard Bouanchaud.

As Western yogis, we often bypass the philosophy of yoga and focus all our time and energy on the physical practice. When in fact, the physical postures are a small fraction of what yoga is about.

The sutras very sophisticatedly distil a systematic approach to spiritual discipline. And reading, exploring and putting them into practice is the yogi’s journey.

In Vedic texts like the sutras, it is common for the author to encapsulate the whole teaching very early on in the text. Patanjali does this, opening the discourse with the essence of the entire yoga practice:

  • 1.1 And now, the teachings of yoga.
  • 1.2 Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.

From this point, the sutras roadmap exactly how to do this. They really are the ultimate yogi’s guidebook!

“Yoga is the space where flower blossoms.”
― Amit Ray

Explore the sutras further

Do you want to dive deeper into the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali?

In this intimate 5-day retreat with Michelle Cassidy, you will be guided in unpacking, dissecting and understanding the sutras. It is an opportunity to dip your toes (and your heart!) into the vast ocean of yoga philosophy under the guidance of a teacher who has dedicated her life to this exploration.

Nestled in the hills of the Gold Coast hinterland you can lose your yourself in the wisdom of the great sage with other like-minded spiritual aspirants and lovers of this ancient philosophy.

There are limited spaces so book now or click here to find out more.