Patanjali yoga meditationPatanjali is chanted before most ashtanga yoga classes. I always thought this meant he created the Ashtanga Yoga primary series. From everything I have researched, this is not the case!

This yogi was a physician that lives somewhere around the birth of Christ. I checked numerous sources and they all had different century estimations of the time of his life, between 500 b.c. and 200 a.d.. His book “The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali” is a collection of 195 sutras. A sutra is a saying meant to convey advice. The Yoga Sutras were advice on how to live morally and use yoga in your daily life. These yoga sutras have been further distilled to people as the 8 limbs of ashtanga yoga.

The 8 Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga

1. Yama – the 5 vows of abstention, involving truthfulness, non-violence, non-covetousness, no sex unless married, and non-possessiveness.
2. Niyama – a collection of 5 observances: cleanliness, satisfaction, body and mind discipline, study of scripture, and worship of God
3. Asana – rules and postures of the body to keep it healthy. Correct asana posture aids meditation by calming the nervous system and preventing disturbances
4. Pranayama – breath control
5. Pratyahara – sense withdrawal
6. Dharana – concentration on a fixed object
7. Dhyana – steadfast meditation
8. Samadhi – oneness with the object of meditation

A review of the 8 limbs suggests Patanjali was not a fun-loving guy. For those that have practice ashtanga yoga (power yoga is derived from ashtanga yoga), it is usually assumed this yogi had something to do with it.

I know that I have heard that and thought that many times over the years of ashtanga yoga practice. To learn that he instead wanted people to live like a monk makes me second-guess chanting his name before I practice. I more prefer Osho’s vibe.