“Through their many years of dedication to the path of yoga, Ranju and David have brought the ancient insights of the often terse and complex Yoga Sutras to life. Here is something different – more than just a commentary – a way to understand and embody the wisdom held within these enigmatic threads. It’s both an academic as well as a practical book for the dedicated practitioner wanting to deepen their experience of the yogic mysteries.” —Sebastian Pole, Herbalist, Yogi and Co-founder of Pukka Herbs(Sebastian Pole)
“The fruit of a lifetime of inquiry and practice.” —Mark Singleton, author of Roots of Yoga and Yoga Body(Mark Singleton)
“Embodying the Yoga Sutra offers a refreshing perspective on yoga. Reading this book will deepen your understanding of the meaning and purpose of Yoga practice. Applying the teachings of this book will enliven your yoga practice and deepen your understanding of your Self.”- Gary Kraftsow, author of Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation
“This remarkable gem shines with clarity and poignancy, beckoning the modern yoga practitioner to take a deep dive into the meaning and purpose of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Yoga offers a path for greater health and awareness and this book provides the map: the nature of obstacles, tools for self-improvement through movement and breath, and the centrality of meditation and good intent. With the dawning awareness of the interconnection between psychology and spirituality, this book is both timely and sophisticated. Superb!“ —Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and Director, Master of Arts in Yoga Studies, Loyola Marymount University, author of more than 20 books, including Yoga and the Luminous: Patanjali’s Spiritual Path to Freedom(Christopher Key Chapple)
Unassuming, generous and brilliant, Dave and Ranju teach from the heart with wit and wisdom.
Understanding Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is the key to understanding yoga itself, and yet relatively few of today’s practitioners know how to apply these ancient Sanskrit aphorisms to contemporary life. Ranju Roy and David Charlton focus on 18 of the most important sutras and show how each one illuminates the relationship between the body, the breath, and the mind.
The authors examine the interplay of three key terms: support, direction, and space. They suggest that only by taking “support” can you establish a clear direction; and once a direction is established then space can open up. This formula can be applied as successfully to the body (in asana) as to the breath (in pranayama) and the mind (through meditation). Embodying the Yoga Sutras is a practical and a deeply philosophical book. —Tara Fraser, Director Yoga Junction, author Yoga for You and Yoga Bliss
“Embodying the Yoga Sutra” brings a new dimension to the world of modern Yoga literature. In a way which all practitioners of yoga can appreciate, it captures the spirit of Yoga and helps gain an understanding of its core. The 11 yoga sutras explained in a practical style in the book are each a good reason for buying the book: This is the type of book we need Yoga to give back Yoga the space it deserves, not merely as a practice to stay fit and healthy, but also a means to enquiry and understanding of the larger spaces in life which give us direction and support. My congratulations to the authors and also to the publishing house for the aesthetic appeal of the book!” – R Sriram Yoga teacher and long-time student of TKV Desikachar
‘Embodying the Yoga Sutra’ by Ranju Roy and David Charlton offers a practical, clearly drawn approach to some of the most important verses of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. It has the qualities of offering both an academic and applicable perspective for students of yoga wanting to deepen their knowledge and explore the profound treasures of this rich and transformative text. Rich philosophical concepts are delivered in clear, understandable every-day language that make the book a pleasure to read. Its content is underpinned by specific teachings of Sri TKV Desikachar and some of his senior students.
The book focuses on 18 of the most important sutra-s and unpicks how each has the potential to transform understanding of the application of yoga on and off the mat; it walks yoga into everyday life.
Ranju and David have skilfully deconstructed these sutra-s, put them into context and then developed them into ideas for practice, all based on the central concepts of support, direction and space. By taking support from something, direction is clarified and through the interaction of support and direction, a space opens up, allowing for change and transformation. This approach can be applied to body, breath, mind and beyond – the way we live our lives, our relationships with other people as well as the environment we live in.
Engaging, self-reflective exercises are presented throughout the book along with clear notes which make the book a practical, as well as theoretical resource.
I found ‘Embodying the Yoga Sutra’ engaging and inspirational. I’d describe it as ‘difficult to put down’, not a claim that can be applied to many such texts! I would recommend the book to interested students at all levels and know that I’ll return to it many times as a student and as a teacher of yoga. – Maggie Shanks
There are relatively few English language publications covering the teachings of our tradition apart from the iconic text by TKV Desikachar himself, The Heart of Yoga. American texts tend to emphasise what to practise and mostly do not capture the depth of the teachings we have inherited in the UK. In a relatively barren land, then, long term ‘viniyoga’ practitioners Ranju Roy and David Charlton have brought a significant work to publication. They have achieved something remarkable in offering us a readable and well referenced text which is reliable in its information and analysis while also being relevant to readers at varying stages on their Yoga journey.
The title of the book is a bold statement of principle that stakes out our ground. We neither practise nor teach eclectic Yoga but we seek to learn to embody the freedom teachings of Patanjali. This is a simple but radical truth within our tradition although the Yoga Sutra remains a largely unknown text within the wider yoga community. The authors then go on to show us how all we do is rooted in a systematic practical philosophy.
There are two crucial and incredibly helpful aspects of this work which voice clearly the fundamental approach to yoga that we share. First is the explanation of why we do not offer a style of yoga but an approach to personal discipline which effects a transformation of suffering in the direction of kaivalya – freedom (nicely translated by the authors using words such as disentanglement and lack of enmeshment). The second aspect is a long awaited printed explanation of the approach to practice planning we all work to so as to ensure appropriate and skilful adaptation for the student. There are lucid explanations of the essential matters of stages of life, aims of practice, types of practice, life purposes, preparation, SKLIBS, counterpose etc. Correct Sanskrit terminology is used and the authors have succeeded in the difficult task of holding together the depth of the Sanskrit meanings with comprehensible English explanation.
This could have been a dense book but it has a spaciousness and lightness that means it can be read from cover to cover as one continuous text. However its structure and clever typesetting lend it to being dipped into for opportunistic insight or a specific section being selected for inspiration. – Helena del Pino