Skip to main content

19 April 2023

New book expounds the philosophical conceptions of yoga

Dr Karen O'Brien-Kop's The Philosophy of the Yogasutra highlights its status as a significant work of philosophy

Dr Karen O'Brien-Kop_book image

Approaching the Yogasutra as living philosophy, the book, due to be released on 20 April 2023 by Bloomsbury Publishing, recognises the logical structure the sutras follow and explains the rules and principles that have sustained Patañjali's system of thought for centuries.

Moving beyond standard interpretations of Patañjali's text and commentary as an aphoristic practice manual, O'Brien-Kop uses branches of philosophy to read the Yogasutra. Covering reality, self, ethics, language and knowledge, Patañjali's philosophies come to the fore. The book introduces his reasoned positions on dual and non­dual metaphysics, the relationship between mind and body, the qualities of consciousness, the nature of freedom, and how to live ethically.

I wanted to highlight a side to Indian yoga that is less widely known, its systematised philosophy from the 4th century CE and to present this treatise in such a way that it could fit with a broad philosophy curriculum. Patanjali’s Yogasutra, contains so much on ontology, ethics, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, logic and more - and my book argues for the relevance of this Indian philosophical tradition for students and educators alike. This title aligns with the decolonizing aims of the Bloomsbury World Philosophies series

Dr Karen O'Brien-Kop, Lecturer in Modern Asian Religions

Carefully selected extracts from the primary text are translated for those unfamiliar with Sanskrit and commentaries run throughout. A glossary provides definitions of key concepts with useful translations. Accessible and up-to-date, this introduction broadens our understanding of Indian philosophical thought and explains why the Yogasutra deserves to be read alongside Parmenides' 'On Nature' and Plato's Phaedo as a classic of world philosophy.

In this story

Karen  O'Brien-Kop

Lecturer in Modern Asian Religions