Yoga Sutras 101: what are they and is yoga a religion?

here and now

The Yoga Sutras are considered the  basis for Classical Yoga as we know it today and were written down some 2000 years ago by an author cited as Patanjali.

There is much controversy as to the author’s (or authors’) identity and even the date of the manuscript, so for convenience, we’ll go for Patanjali, 2000 years.

What is generally agreed is that the author was not the founder of yoga; but, rather he was a scholarly consolidator, codifier, and recorder of an existing oral tradition and philosophy.

The Sutras were not meant to be a comprehensive ‘how-to” guide; instead,  think of them as “Cliff’s Notes”  based on teachings that passed for generations from guru to student.

Each sentence is an aphorism, concise, and loaded with meaning. They begin simply enough, “Now, the study of Yoga,” but even the word “Now”  means more than you might think. Many a swami has lectured on the Sutras without making it past the definition of now! [Read more…]

Hatha Yoga: the appetizer course for Raja Yoga


“Those who practice only Hatha and do not know Raja Yoga, I consider such practitioners to be depriving themselves of the fruit of their endeavor.”

~ Svatmarama, Author Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 15th century CE.

Walk in to your local health club, community center or mass-market Yoga Studio like Lifetime Yoga or CorePower, and you might think that the ancients of yore were doing sun salutations and breakneck speed, staring at their reflections in pools while a band of drummers sang and played.  It would be easy to assume that all those men were sporting white loincloth diapers (with logos?) to show off their “yoga butts” and “ab fab abs.”

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