The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2014 - Religion - 273 pages
4 Reviews

"The who's who of how Patanjali's "Yoga Sutra" came to be, this thoughtful and well-developed biography gives an in-depth view of each contributor to this once minor, now major philosophical player in the Western yoga world. I will keep this beautiful work in my library to refer back to as I continue to deepen my exploration of this profound spiritual masterpiece. A must-read for any serious academic or practitioner."--Melanie Salvatore-August, YogaWorks mentor teacher, author, yoga and mindfulness practitioner

"David Gordon White's unique knowledge of both classical yoga texts and contemporary religious practice in India and the West gives him a unique insight into the troubled question of the relevance (or irrelevance) of Patanjali's masterwork to contemporary postural yoga. Written with White's characteristic verve, rich in fascinating historical documentation, this is an often hilarious and always exciting story. Anyone seriously interested in yoga in any of its many forms, from its profound philosophy to its often life-changing practice, must read this book."--Wendy Doniger, author of "The Hindus: An Alternative History" and "On Hinduism"

"Contemporary yoga teachers and gurus have mistakenly made the "Yoga Sutra" into the ubiquitous foundation of all yoga practice, stretching and extrapolating it into a complete manual for living. Now the man behind the curtain is exposed. White mines the truth from hearsay and stands contemporary yoga beliefs on their head. This remarkable, colorful, and engaging book will rattle a lot of cages and hopefully enlighten the enlighteners. I highly recommend it as required reading for anyone interested in yoga."--Ganga White, author of "Yoga Beyond Belief" and founder of the White Lotus Foundation

"David Gordon White is not only a magnificent writer and a brilliant scholar. He is perhaps our best modern interpreter of Indian yogic traditions."--Reza Aslan, author of "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" and "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam"

"Elegant, erudite, and crystal clear. White shows how the "Yoga Sutra," which has taken on iconic significance with respect to the practice of modern yoga, has been completely misunderstood and manipulated to mean different things over the course of the past millennium. This book will force anyone who thinks they know what the "Yoga Sutra" signifies to completely change their view on the subject."--Joseph S. Alter, author of "Yoga in Modern India"

"A very engaging read. White's book is provocative in all the right places."--Martha Ann Selby, coeditor of "Tamil Geographies: Cultural Constructions of Space and Place in South India"

"The best book available on the "Yoga Sutra." It is a work of original research that will greatly interest scholars and captivate general readers. White performs a great service with this book."--Donald S. Lopez, Jr., author of ""The Tibetan Book of the Dead": A Biography"

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Review: The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography

User Review  - Richard - Goodreads

An Historical look at the history of Patanjali. I usually like menstrual blood and demons in my yoga books but it is always nice to see what the squares have gotten up to. Read full review

Review: The "Yoga Sutra of Patanjali": A Biography

User Review  - Piotr - Goodreads

This is an academic book dealing with the history of Yoga Sutra and its significance both now and in the past. It's an interesting read for someone interested in yoga and it's a great way to balance ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

David Gordon White is the J. F. Rowny Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include Yoga in Practice (Princeton) and Sinister Yogis.

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