Yoga Yajnavalkya

Last Updated: June 12, 2018

Definition - What does Yoga Yajnavalkya mean?

The "Yoga Yajnavalkya" is an ancient Hindu text that played a key role in both the practice of yoga and the development of the spiritual discipline prior to the 12th century. Originally a Sanskrit text, the authorship of the "Yoga Yajnavalkya" is often attributed to the early Vedic sage, Yajnavalkya, who lived around the eighth century B.C.E., although scholars believe it was likely written much later and perhaps by a different sage with the same name.

The "Yoga Yajnavalkya" is structured as a discussion between the sage and Gargi Vachaknavi, a female philosopher who is sometimes described as his wife.

Yogapedia explains Yoga Yajnavalkya

The "Yoga Yajnavalkya" describes The Eight Limbs of Yoga as found in "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali," but expands on them and provides a broader perspective. For example, Patanjali lists five yamas and five niyamas, whereas Yajnavalkya lists 10 of each. Similarly, the "Yoga Yajnavalkya" expands on the Sutras' key concepts of pranayama, pratyahara and dharana, describing several types and ways to achieve each state.

The "Yoga Yajnavalkya" also introduces the concept of kundalini — the dormant energy in the body that is awakened through yoga practice — and the nadis through which this energy travels, which is something that Patanjali does not mention.

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