Astanga Yoga in Patanjali and the Gita: a Comparison (2CR)

How are popular systems of yoga understood differently in different ancient texts? Celebrated Professor of Hinduism Edwin Bryant offers a comparative study of Astanga Yoga as it is understood in the Gita and the Sutras. 

PREVIEW: "What is the Atman (the Self)?"


  • scholarly research on the difference between the yoga of the Sutras and the Gita.
  • pronunciation of key Sanskrit concepts.
  • what the concept of the Self (Atman) is in the Yoga tradition.
  • an understanding of yoga "in the forest" vs. yoga "in the world".

"Astanga Yoga in Patanjali and the Gita: a Comparison"
with Professor Edwin Bryant

The Gita defines yoga very differently from Patanjali, given the text's emphasis on action in the world.  But it does accept and outline a version of Patanjali's citta-vritti-nirodhah type of yoga, which it calls dhyana (and the commentaries call astanga), in its 5th and 6th chapters.  There were two types of Yoga, Krishna tells Arjuna: the generic dhyana type, but also an action in the world type.  This latter, Krishna says, became lost in time, and He presents himself as reestablishing this lost action yoga, encouraging Arjuna to follow this.  But the Gita nonetheless honors the Patanjalian type.  This lecture will focus on the verses in chapter 5 and 6 of the Gita that express an astanga type practice, and compare these with verses in Patanjali. Comparative attention will also be paid to the action in the world yoga, which the Gita favors, and which culminates in bhakti.

A Little about Edwin...

Edwin Bryant received his Ph.D in Indic languages and Cultures from Columbia University. He taught Hinduism at Harvard University for three years, and is presently the professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University where he teachescourses on Hindu philosophy and religion. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, published six books and authored a number of articles on Vedic history, yoga, and the Krishna tradition. In addition to his academic work for the scholarly community, Edwin's Penguin World Classics translation of theSrimad Bhagavata Purana, the traditional source for the story of Krishna's incarnation, is both for Indology specialists as well as students and those interested in Hinduism from the general reading public and the yoga community. 

As a personal practitioner of yoga for 35 years, a number of them spent in India studying with traditional teachers, where he returns yearly, Edwin strives to combine academic scholarship and rigor with sensitivity towards traditional knowledge systems. In addition to his academic course load, Edwin currently teaches workshopson the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, and Hindu Philosophy at yoga studios and teacher training courses throughout the country. His translation of and commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (North Point Press, a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009) is specifically dedicated to contributing to the growing body of literature on yoga by providing insights from the major pre-modern commentaries on the text with a view to grounding the teachings in their traditional context. 

Your investment for this masterclass is $27. 
2.0 Embodied Philosophy Credits will be applied to your account. For information about the Wisdom Training Accreditation, go here.

The masterclass runs for about 2 hours. You will have instant and ongoing access to the online recording so you can watch it whenever you want, how often you want.


If you're new to online workshops, don't worry, it's very easy. It's just like any workshop, except on video and online.

After you submit your payment, you’ll be sent an email with the link to the masterclass website page. There you can watch the workshop and will be given an option to download the video to your personal wisdom library. You don’t need any special software or equipment. You can watch the workshop streaming online, but if you don't have an excellent wifi connection, it will be best to download the video before viewing. 


Edwin Bryant does not mess around. You will not find a scholar-practitioner more thorough on the topic of the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita than Edwin Bryant.”   Travis

“Excellent, deep, and thought-provoking talk. Thank you!” – Sasha

“I love these offerings! So nice to have access to such thoughtful teachings when you live in a place as remote as I do.” – John


Get the whole series...

Edwin's talk is part of a 15-hr series exploring the Sutras and Gita. Save 50% by purchasing all eleven videos today. 

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