How do the sounds of Sanskrit deepen our experience of yoga?

The major yogic works; Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras, the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā and the Bhagavad Gīta to name but a few, were all composed in the Sanskrit language. So the link between Sanskrit and Yoga is clear, but if we want to deepen our experience of yoga through this link then reading a translation of these works in English will miss the mark as the transformative effect of the Sanskrit language is held in its sound.

The awakening power of Mantrah

For those of us who have been deeply touched by a yoga class, we usually find that the course of our life has been changed forever. From this point, we tend to dedicate large amounts of time to discovering what it was that touched us exactly, and how we can stay more connected to this energy. The Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad describes this energy as turīya, or reality in the following passage:

Why yoga is not 'the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind'

Yoga Sūtra 1.2: yogaḥ cittavṛttinirodhaḥ A multitude of yoga teachers’ websites and yoga studios display their interpretation of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra 1.2 as  “yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind”. This translation is not only incorrect but it does not carry any of the depth held within the Sanskrit words. Patañjali was a master of yoga who chose three words to elicit within us the vast potential that yoga has to offer. To varying degrees we have all had an experience of stilling a busy mind; is this really the ultimate goal of yoga? 

What is 'surrender' in the context of the Yoga Sūtras?

Plenary talk at the British Wheel of Yoga Festival 2016