SKT 301 |

Pātañjalayogaśāstra: Pāda 1

A 9-week online course 

with Dr. Philipp Maas


Read the foundational text of Yoga in its original language and context. 

Join renowned Indologist Dr. Philipp Maas and a global cohort of students for this unique opportunity to read the Pātañjalayogaśāstra in Sanskrit. 

A course in reading the Pātañjalayogaśāstra

The Yogasūtra of Patañjali, a brief Sanskrit composition consisting of 195 more or less obscure sentences in Sanskrit, is frequently depicted as the foundation of Yoga philosophy. This work, which was translated from its original Sanskrit into more than 40 languages over the last 150 years, is arguably the most widely received Sanskrit composition in the modern globalized world. It provides Yoga practitioners and philosophers in South Asia and beyond with inspiration and guidance concerning Yoga theory, philosophy, and practice.

The iconic status of the Yogasūtra in the modern yoga world sharply contrasts with the state of academic research on this work and its original historical, cultural, religious, and philosophical contexts, which, even after 200 years, is still in its infancy. The exact wording of Patañjali’s composition has not yet been scholarly established for the entire text, and no scholarly annotated English translation of the work exists. However, during the last decades, remarkable progress has been achieved. It has become evident that the Yogasūtra was composed around the year 400 CE, probably together with its oldest preserved commentary, the so-called Yogabhāṣya, by the author-redactor Patañjali.

The sūtras and their original commentary have the common Sanskrit title Pātañjalayogaśāstra, i.e., “The authoritative exposition Yoga by Patañjali.” Virtually immediately after its composition, the Pātañjalayogaśāstra became a recognized widely as the system of Yoga philosophy that teaches how suffering in the cycle of transmigration can be overcome by humans through a unique insight derived from yogic meditations.

For everybody interested in Yoga, Indian philosophy, and religion, the Pātañjalayogaśāstra is thus an eminent source of information that is ideally studied in its original Sanskrit.

The present course offers the opportunity for students with basic knowledge of Sanskrit to gain access to the Pātañjalayogaśāstra by reading and interpreting selected passages from the first chapter of this work in the earliest searchable text version under the guidance of Dr. Philipp A. Maas—an internationally renowned scholar who has published widely on the philosophy, meditations, and practice of Pātañjala Yoga as well as on the textual and reception history of the Pātañjalayogaśāstra.

The text to be studied explains in detail the foundations of yoga psychology and the structures and contents of various meditations leading to spiritual liberation from suffering in transmigration.

Prerequisites: We recommend students have 1-2 years of experience studying Sanskrit to get the most out of this course. However, you are welcome to try, and will not be turned away for lack of experience. 

Course Structure


May 16 - July 15, 2022 (9 Weeks)

2 live class sessions per week (90 min)

Mondays + Thursdays
10-11:30am Pacific



All students enrolled in this course will receive:

  • 18 live class sessions (90 min each)
  • 9 Multiple Choice Quizzes 
  • Sanskrit edition of the Pātañjalayogaśāstra (PDF)
  • Additional Readings (PDF)
  • 5 YSACP credits
  • 27 Hours of CE credit with YA
  • Yogic Studies Certificate upon completion (PDF)
  • Access to the private Yogic Studies Online Community Forum

Your Instructor

Dr. Philipp Maas is currently a research associate at the Institute for Indology and Central Asian Studies, University of Leipzig in Germany, where he works on a digital critical edition of the Nyāyabhāṣya, a Sanskrit work on spiritual liberation through proper reasoning. Previously he had served as an assistant professor and postdoc researcher at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Bonn Germany.

He received his M.A. (1997) and Dr. phil. (2004) degrees from the University of Bonn, where he had completed studies in Indology, Comparative Religious Studies, Tibetology and Philosophy. His first book (originally his PhD thesis) is the first critical edition of the first chapter (Samādhipāda) of the Pātañjala Yogaśāstra, i.e. the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali together with the commentary called Yoga Bhāṣya. He has published extensively on classical Yoga and Sāṅkhya philosophy and meditation, Āyurveda, the relationship of Pātañjalayoga to Buddhism as well as on the textual tradition of the Pātañjalayogaśāstra. He is a member of the “Historical Sourcebooks on Classical Indian Thought” project, convened by Prof. Sheldon Pollock, to which he contributes with a monograph on the development of Yoga-related ideas in pre-modern South Asian intellectual history.  

Enrollment is OPEN!

Join the course with one of the following registration options:

Regular Tuition

$300 USD


• Lifetime access to SKT 301


Regular Tuition

3 x $100 USD


• Lifetime access to SKT 301


This course is eligible for 27 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance

Praise for Dr. Maas' previous teaching at YS

"Philipp Maas's course on the Sāṅkhyakārikā is an absolute must for lovers, students, and teachers of yoga. It brings into focus many of the ideas also present in Patañjali's Yoga Sūtras. Phillip's intelligent, balanced, insightful, and entertaining delivery was delightful. I can't wait for Yogic Studies to offer more courses with Phillip. Thank you. "

YS 204 Student

"Dr. Phillip Maas' course was an example of coherence and generosity, transforming complex ideas into " aha's" understandable ones. I look forward to more courses with him, on Yogic Studies, a very friendly educational platform! Thanks to everyone who made this course happen. "

Irene Zaarour

"I couldn't have asked for a better teacher to introduce me to the fascinating world of classical Indian philosophy. Although my Sāṅkhya journey is just beginning, there is no mistaking yoga's ontological and epistemological underpinnings in the philosophy. Philipp's enthusiasm is infectious. It reaffirms my commitment to learn Sanskrit to further my studies."

Atri Ray
Vancouver, Canada

"Professor Maas is a good example of a compassionate academic with an interest in making himself understood. He took joy in meeting interested students and did a good job to clarify preconceptions about the subject when they occurred. His enthusiasm was both generously given and received."

YS 204 Student

"YS 204 with Dr. Phillip Maas was an amazing course. I am so appreciative of his knowledge, kindness, and the respect he showed to the participants. I will look forward to future courses with Phillip when he has time to share his vast research and knowledge. What a wonderful opportunity to study with a university professor under such lovely circumstances that Yogic Studies with Seth Powell provides! "

Rhonda Curtis
Valencia, California

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