The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the classical ancient Indian treatise on the practice of Yoga. While Yoga conjures up images of bodily postures and stretches in popular western culture, this aspect of yoga, the asanas, is only the third limb of the eight limbs outlined in the Yoga Sutras -- and, indeed, Patanjali pays only passing attention to this aspect of the system. This seminar series will consist of a close reading of Patanjali's original text, focusing on the opening section of the work, wherein Yoga is defined and the state of samadhi, liberation, described, as well as on the eight limbs of yoga covered in the heart of the text, which outline the step by step methods for attaining this enlightened state. Attention will be paid to the pre-modern commentaries of the text, thus exposing students to the traditional understanding of the practice of classical Yoga and its goals. Students are advised to bring any copy of the Sutras which has the Sanskrit text in romanized script as attention will be focused on the original source rather than its westernized manifestation.