In Praise of Patanjali and the Eight Limbs

If you practice yoga for a good amount of time, Patanjali’s name will crop up. Patanjali was a sage and a physician who lived somewhere between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. No one knows the exact date of his birth or death. Patanjali codified his knowledge and thoughts on yoga, which became The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Pantanjali extracted the parts of the Vedas that dealt with mastering the mind, updated the language, and modernized these verses. The 195 sutras are aphorisms or precise parables to reflect on and incorporate into your life. Sutras define the entire science of yoga, and for this reason Patanjali is often called the “Father of Yoga.” The sutras, although translated, are best understood by discussion in a class.

Patanjali’s writings have been described as “the epitome of tolerance.” The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is considered the most fundamental text on the system of yoga, covering everything from social responsibility to how to concentrate the mind. The heart of his teachings are the eight limbs or the eightfold path of yoga, known as ashtanga yoga.

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