The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali is a collection of Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga – 195 sutras (according to Vyāsa and Krishnamacharya) and 196 sutras (according to others, including BKS Iyengar). The Yoga Sutras was compiled in the early centuries CE, by the sage Patanjali in India who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from much older traditions.
The Yoga Sutras is best known for its reference to ashtanga, eight elements of practice culminating in samadhi. The eight elements are yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yoga posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration of the mind), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption). The main aim of practice is kaivalya, discernment of purusha, the witness-consciousness, as distinct from prakriti, the cognitive apparatus, and disentanglement of purusha from prakriti's muddled defilements.