Yesterday I kicked off the first of six sessions in which 9 students and I will look at least the philosophy of Patanjali. The format is a discussion in which we will tease out the aphorisms called the Yoga Sutras.
It’s a privilege to give our time to considering big questions, like what is yoga? We do yoga practices daily or once a week in classes, but we seldom give much thought to why we’re doing it.
In designing this course, I’ve been able to take a fresh look at Sutra I:2. Some consider this one the most important sutras. In fact this particular aphorism might just sum up the whole of the 156 sutras.
You might like to refresh your definition of yoga which could clarify why you do it. So, below you’ll find a few interpretations of the crystal-clear, pared down genius of the Ancient Sage, Patanjali. These come from disparate traditions and teachers.
I’d be curious to hear with which of these your mind and heart resonate.

Yoga citti vrtti nirodhah.
Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness. – Chip Hartranft
Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness. – B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness. – Georg Feuerstein
The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga. – Sri Swami Satchidananda
Wholeness consists of a complete grasp and command over the process of being and becoming aware. – Kofi Busia
Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively towards an object and sustain that direction without any distractions. – T.K.V. Desikachar
Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart. – Nischala Joy Devi