This is one of the main texts on yoga that is referred to by most teachers. Not to mention that this is where we find the ‘eight-limbed yoga’. It gives us an in-depth study of yoga and is essential reading for anyone wishing to explore the deeper teachings.
The word ‘sutra’ means thread so this text is a collection of ‘threads of thought’ or aphorisms. As they are so brief commentary is needed for us to understand the meaning behind them. There are dozens of commentaries available so it can be difficult to choose the version for you.
Here are some of my favorites and the attributes of each to help you decide where to begin. I’m still studying and expect that I will be for many more years. The clarity of this beautiful text takes years (or maybe life times 😉 of study, practice and contemplation for the wisdom to dawn within us. Enjoy!
Commentary by Swami Satchidananda
This is a transcript of his talks so it is more informal which makes it easy to read, understand and apply directly to our life in the world. I recommend this a great place to start and I love his humour and stories!
Raja Yoga: Being Lectures by the Swami Vivekananda
This is fairly short and to the point with a few beautiful and interesting lectures before getting directly into the break down of each sutra.
Commentary by Iyengar
The thing I like the most about this version is that for each word in Sanskrit there are a few examples of how it could be translated. And there are several interesting charts.
Commentary by Georg Feuerstein
This is one of my favorites! I have a few versions by either Georg or Brenda Feuerstein but this one is my favorite. I don’t recommend it as the first reading of the sutras but it is excellent if you are ready to really go deeper into the meaning of the aphorisms. The translations are exact.
Commentary by Swami Hariharananda
This is also one of my favorite versions because it includes the commentary from the first commentator the sage Vyasa! Again, not for first time readers of the sutras but definitely for anyone going more in depth!!