cover image The Essential Yoga Sutra: How to Apply Yoga in Your Day-to-Day Life

The Essential Yoga Sutra: How to Apply Yoga in Your Day-to-Day Life

Christie McNally, Author, Geshe Michael Roach, Author . Doubleday/Three Leaves $9.95 (108p) ISBN 978-0-385-51536-8

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is a foundational ancient text that examines the purpose and practice of yoga. Longtime American Buddhist teacher Roach, who holds the distinguished title of geshe (comparable to a Ph.D. in Buddhist religious studies), provides commentary to McNally's fresh translation of this aphoristic text from ca. 250 B.C.E. Yoga means union, and this interpretation unites the ways of Buddhism and yoga, making it useful for students of either practice. Roach's commentary reveals the text's logic and organization, unpacking its density in 108 short sections, each devoted to a few lines of the text. An index of important ideas in the sutra is helpful. Like any classic sacred text, this one is deceptively simple, inviting study, as Roach notes ("Now that you've read this book, you need to use it"). The text is dense and the commentary short, so this is not a book for beginners. The subtitle is misleading: as how-to books go, this is fairly abstract ("Everything we see around us is either at work or at rest"), lacking real anecdotes or examples to illustrate ideas. But for more experienced students and those interested in the intersection between yoga and Buddhism, this is a stimulating presentation of an influential text. (Aug. 16)