Yoga, what began in India as a practical yet very intriguing philosophy, is today a talking point in nearly every country in the world. It is estimated that there are around fifty million yoga practitioners outside India, and the numbers are increasing by the passing of each day. For many, yoga was primarily associated with doing physically challenging postures ,and some breath control routines. The truth is that these are just a part of the greater wisdom that help in reducing the distractions, and identifying the greater potentials, of the human mind.
The world is now seeing a renaissance in the attitude and the way in which yoga is practiced today. Practitioners are seeking what is beyond the practice of postures and breath control, to discover the deeper journeys that yoga can lead us to. While embarking on this voyage, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is being acknowledged as the most trusted companion – something even the ancient yogis relied on.
Considered the most important work on yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali presents the entire doctrine of yoga in 195 aphorisms. It is the first systematic work on yoga, and is also regarded as the final authority. The ancient yogis believed that what has not been mentioned in the YogaSutras, are either not part of yoga, or are not important at all. All the works on yoga, acknowledge this fact and consider Patanjali as the father of yoga.
Presented in aphorisms, the yoga sutras are easy to memorize and remember, and posseses a richness of meaning. Every word in the yoga sutra is of great relevance and is carefully chosen, each representing a multitude of meanings and interpretations. The legion of understanding can only be understood through a close interaction and a long time study with a competant teacher, who has been through the study and practice of Yoga.
Traditionally, the student would first learn to recite the sutras by heart. Only then would she be taught the meaning and the appropriate practice that would be relevant for her. Patanjali describes in his opening aphorism, that Yoga is an experimential wisdom, indicating that the experience and understanding of yoga is unique to every individual