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threads of yoga: a remix of patanjali-s sutra-s, with commentary and reverie Paperback – October 23, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matthew Remski is a yoga instructor, Ayurvedic consultant, novelist, and poet. He is the co-founder of Yoga Community Toronto, a coalition of yoga practitioners dedicated to equality, accessibility, progressive spirituality, and student-centred learning. threads of yoga is part of his ongoing effort to cross-pollinate ancient wisdom literature with contemporary philosophy, psychology, and the evolutionary sciences. He maintains a Ayurveda practice in Toronto, where he lives with his partner and their son.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480100471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480100473
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I love Patanjali's Yoga Sutras; I have almost as many editions as I do fingers and toes. When I heard there was a new translation and commentary of course I had to grab a copy.

I've just finished Threads of Yoga, a remix of patanjali-s sutras with commentary and reverie. Original, insightful, beautiful, this is the most modern commentary I've read. Reading its self-published pages, I felt as though Matthew Remski had given Patanjali a shave and haircut, the dusty old monk, and then dressed him in eco-chic loungewear and sat him down to talk with me over coffee.

If you know about the Yoga Sutras, I think you should get your hands on a copy of Remski's book. Really. It's the only edition I've read that...

gets me through the second half of the Sutras without falling asleep,
names the secret ingredient I always knew Patanjali left out of his sauce,
grabs my ear with language as beautiful as the sounds of Sanskrit
lights sparks for me over and over again by striking Patanjali's flint with the steel of modern science and philosophy, and
shows me how to reject and love a spiritual text at the same time.

Here's what I mean, point by point.

ON STAYING AWAKE THROUGH THE END OF THE MOVIE

I like the Sutras. A lot. But every time I get close to Pada 3 I feel like I'm catching the flu. Thanks, but I really don't want to fly, inhabit someone else's body, or shrink to the size of a pixel. On goes Netflix; I'd rather watch the latest Avengers sequel. That's what I like about Remski's book: unlike most translations I've seen, his rendition of Chapter 3 does not read like a comic book!
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Format: Paperback
The author asked me to review this book publicly when it came out, and I declined. I enjoyed Matthew's writing and his engaging mind, and considered him a good friend. But I also knew this book was more than intellectually dishonest - it was actually an act of aggression.

The aggression may not be visible unless you know something about Patanjali and classical Indian metaphysics. (If you do, and you also have under your hat a little language poetry and "postmodernism" - an intellectual movement that academia buried by the 1990s - then you already have put this together.)

The author does not know Sanskrit. Moreover, he manifestly does not take an intellectual interest in Samkhya philosophy, and yet wants to uproot the work from its conceptual grounding in that metaphysical system, offering in its place poetic aphorisms that are not linguistically or philosophically related to the Yoga Sutras. This intellectual disconnecting is a big deal. Samkhya is a challenging intellectual framework that yoga practitioners would do well grapple with as they strengthen their own critical minds and come more deeply into relationship with the yoga tradition. Especially because there are several charismatic (deceptive) teachers in the current yoga world, it's great for young students to be asked to sharpen their minds from the start. Studying the Sutras, especially if one is not a fan of its dualistic backdrop, is an obvious way to do that.

Yet what we get from this text, rather than factually correct information about the Yoga Sutras, is an attempt at Language Poetry.
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Format: Paperback
I wish this re-imagining of the yoga sutras had been available to me when I was completing my yoga teacher training --- I would have really appreciated such a down-to-earth and in-depth analysis of the ways in which the text relates to our contemporary world. In my experience the sutras are too often approached with unthinking reverence by both students of yoga and their teachers, but here the old text is broken open and an essential question is asked: how is this artifact of a bygone era actually relevant to us today? Threads is an inspiring and incisive vision of the sutras which at once honours the complexity and genius of the original book while at the same time making it new again. Most importantly, the book startled me awake with the realization that the sutras no longer need to be treated as an untouchable how-to manual for ethical practice. Instead, Remski argues that these words belongs to all of us, demanding our questions, our revisions and our poetry if they are to continue to teach us.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"threads of yoga" is a remarkable book, one that I hope will become a staple in the yoga community. In it, Remski provides a completely original - and often revolutionary - interpretation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. His use of the term "remix" is apt - not only is his interpretation bold and original, but his writing style is lyrical, almost musical; reading Remski is a lot like listening to an ecstatically joyous remake of a tired old tune - one of those songs you didn't like so much the first time around, but is suddenly captivating and melodic in its new form. He takes great liberties at times, virtually re-writing some threads, but never arbitrarily, and never outside a context that fully supports and justifies his vision.

The central theme of this remix is a move away from the traditional dualistic goal of transcending the natural world and body (the feminine prakriti) to dwell in pure consciousness (the masculine purusa). Instead, Remski embraces the aim of mind-body integration, embracing both our natural physical being and our consciousness, and engaging fully in the world in which we live. This approach recognizes prakriti and purusa as interdependent aspects of a holistic existence that does not rely on any distinction between the two. As a result of this integration, the focus naturally shifts from metaphysical speculation to a dedicated awareness of global interdependence. The goal is no longer transcendence for the sake of the practitioner (with the obligatory rationalization that this will, in turn benefit the rest of the world - a sort of spiritual "trickle-down" effect). Instead, the goal is awareness and action that supports the practitioner in becoming increasingly engaged in, and mindful of, the interdependent web of life into which we were born.
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