Patanjali, who was a Hindu Vedantist, is a compiler of yoga sutras from Vedic knowledge on Hinduism.
Yoga has become very popular throughout the world in the recent decades for the guidelines in regard to practice Raja Yoga and Yoga movement for health and mind.
The word Yoga means the state of mind where feelings and thoughts are held in and sutra means thread.
Yoga (traditional Hinduism) involves inner meditation, thorough system of meditation practice, metaphysics, ethics, and devotion to common soul (God).
Yoga Sutras outline the sovereign path of Raja Yoga. Patanjali divided Yoga Sutras into four chapters or padas with 195 sutras or aphorisms. Samadhi Pada with 51 sutras, Sadhana Pada with 55 sutras, Vibhuti Pada with 55 sutras, and Kaivalya Pada with 34 sutras.
Samadhi Pada of Yoga Sutras. Samadhi means heavenly state. In this chapter, he describes about yoga and about the nature and means to achieve samadhi. The author also tells true consciousness and defines the problems that an individual sole faces.
Sadhana Pada of Yoga Sutras. Sadhana means practice. In this chapter, the author describes two forms of yoga: Kriya Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga. Kriya Yoga means action yoga and Ashtanga Yoga means eightfold or eight-limbed yoga.
Kriya Yoga can also be called as Karma Yoga, which is selfless action and service. This yoga is also described in the Bhagavad Gita in which Lord Sri Krishna gives confidence to Arjuna to act without attachment to the results or fruit of that action or activity.
Steps of Ashtanga Yoga are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. The first five are external aids (bahiranga sadhana) to yoga and the last three are internal aids (antaranga sadhana) to yoga.
Yama refers to five abstentions: Ahimsa, Satya, Asetya, Brahmacharya, and Aparigraha.
Niyama refers to five observances: Shaucha (cleanliness of body and mind), Santosha (satisfaction), Tapas (austerity observances for body discipline and mental control), Svadhyaya (introspection), and Ishvarapranidhana (surrender to God).
Asana refers to discipline of the body.
Pranayama refers to control of breath.
Pratyahara refers to withdrawal of senses from external objects.
Dharana refers to concentration such as midpoint of the eyebrows.
Dhyana refers to undisturbed flow of thoughts. It means the act of medication and object of meditation remain separate.
Samadhi refers to oneness with the object of meditation. Samadhi is of two kinds. One is Samprajnata Samadhi and Asamprajnata Samadhi.
Vibhuti Pada of Yoga Sutras. Vibhuti in Sanskrit means manifestation or power. Supra-normal powers will be acquired by practicing yoga. This chapter comprises of 55 sutras.
Kaivalya Pada of Yoga Sutras. Literally Kaivalya means isolation, solitariness, or detachment. This chapter describes the nature of moksha (liberation) and the reality of transcendental self. The ultimate goal of yoga is Kaivalya.
Although these Yoga Sutras have been published by a number of teachers of Yoga, many versions show a wide variation. The exact textual analysis has not been submitted in its entirety from Sanskrit and the meaning of many Sanskrit words and phrases remain a stuff of arguments.