The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is one of the central texts of Yoga composed at least 2000 years ago. It is comprised of approximately 196 sutras, or aphorisms, which lay out the philosophy and practices of yoga. An understanding of this text is essential for both yoga teachers and aspirants. The Yoga Sutras are as relevant today as they were when they were written and they provide a roadmap for living skillfully and joyfully.
A year ago, while in India attending a seminar with Swami Veda Bharati, my preceptor in the Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition, he asked the crowd how many there had studied the Yoga Sutras, and very few people raised their hands. This surprised me, because Swami Veda Bharati is one of the foremost experts on the Yoga Sutras alive today, and so few of his students had studied the sutras.
So, with the permission of Swami Ritavan Bharati, who is in charge of the Ashram, I offered those present an opportunity to form a virtual Yoga Sutra study group via Skype. Several people, from all over the world, expressed an interest and gave me their email addresses. Out of this, two Yoga Sutra Skype study groups formed, one for Europe and one for India, and have been ongoing since. We meet approximately every other week for an hour, at a time convenient to all.
At our sessions, we chant the Sanskrit of each sutra we’re learning that day, and then I give an introduction to the sutra, followed by group discussion. The goal is not to memorize the sutra, but to understand it and consider how it can be applied in our own day to day lives. Several of the students have told me they really enjoy the sessions.
The European group moved all the way through the first Chapter of the Sutras, and is beginning the second, so this seemed like a good time to invite more people to join in. Carolyn Hume placed my announcement on the Ahymsin Facebook page and quite a few people expressed an interest and have been invited to join the upcoming sessions.
If you would like to join, please email me. You could join the groups already ongoing, or if there is enough interest, we might start a new group.