Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchinanda

I am fully convinced that I must read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali once a year for the rest of my life.

I started out understanding quite a bit but was completely lost by the time I reached samadhi. COMPLETELY. Still, this is a book of practice and not meant to be understood on a single pass. There are many translations and many commentaries and will likely read a different one next time for a few reasons.

First, there are many schools of thought about yoga and I’d like to see a few of them. Second, I’ve read from several Bible commentaries and have learned the value of learning from more than one teacher. Third, why stop at one?

This is a great translation and commentary. It gives the full Sanskrit text of each sutra and then the translations and then commentary that explains what was meant. Some sutras don’t have an explanation, but most do. It’s the perfect translation for just digging and reading the sutras for the sake of having read them. There’s not a lot of fluff or extra information. The only problem is that sometimes I need the fluff and extra information. Most of the time, that’s on the first pass of a subject, but I quickly learned on another translation that is just not true of yoga.

After trying a few of them, this one was the perfect first run on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It gives great explanations until samadhi, which is when I just couldn’t keep it together anymore. That said, I know it’s me and my rudimentary understanding of this practice, as I mentioned in the samadhi post. I can better understand what Patanjali and Satchnanda were talking about on the yoga limbs that I already have some experience with. All the samadhis are not among those. Still, it’s a practice and I’m more than happy to just keep practicing.

I think my favorite thing about this particular translation, other than that commentary just dove right in without a lot fanfare, is Satchinanda’s approach to religion with yoga. It’s not about what you practice, but essentially how you practice when it comes to blending the two systems. Neither belongs to the other nor do they oppose each other, and they can actually complement each other. I’ve always found the two practices complementary in my life. Each makes me better at the other. Reading that here felt validating.

So, while this version of the Yoga Sutras was great. I’m still going to reread them once a year, and check out some other translations too. I have one doorstopper version in my Scribd that has a whole history of yoga that I might try next year.

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