Question: In some of your classes, we chant the Prayer to Patanjali. Who is Patanjali and why is he so important?
Patanjali is best known for the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras are short, compact aphorisms (concise statements, containing a truth) of practical and philosophical wisdom that were first created 5,000 years ago. The Sutras were passed down by word of mouth from the ancient sages for 2,500 years until Patanjali compiled them and wrote them down.
The word sutra means thread in Sanskrit. These threads of wisdom provide a roadmap toward spiritual enlightenment and are considered the foundational text for yoga.
When Patanjali wrote and codified the sutras, he gave a great gift to humanity because he made yoga available to the common person.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga are included in the Sutras. They cover every aspect of how to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. The Eight Limbs of Yoga delineate how to live as a moral and ethical person, how to discipline the self, live a healthy life, and to bring awareness to our own spiritual nature.
The Eight Limb Path establishes the framework for our yoga practice.
Go to Kofi Busia’s website for a more complete exploration of Patanjali.