Threads of Yoga
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THROUGH CREATESPACE.
I don’t know of any reading of the yoga sutras as wildly creative, as impassioned and as earnest as this. it engages Patanjali and the reader in an urgent, electrified conversation that weaves philosophy, symbolist poetry, psychoanalysis and cultural history. There’s a kind of delight and freshness in this book that is very rare in writing on yoga, and especially rare in writing on the yoga sutras. This is a Patanjali for postmoderns, less a translation than a startlingly relevant report on our current condition, through the prism of this ancient text.
– Mark Singleton, author of Yoga Body:The Origins of Modern Posture Practice
“I find your contribution a serious and worthwhile contribution to the unfolding of the history of yoga philosophy. It comes from “inside” the complex process of tradition and tells us that tradition now extends far beyond the original, the context of India, and into the modern world of western thinking.”
– Professor Douglas Brooks
I’m awed by the fearless audacity with which you approach the sutras. And have been enjoying the dialogue you’re creating between an articulate post-modern mind and a powerful traditional text.
– Sally Kempton
I am blown away by it. Being as familiar with the sutras as I am, it was an absolute delight to read your creative translation in reference to the dry old standards in my memory, and feel reinvigorated in the validity of my own interpretations. Your work renders the sutras relevant anew, and creates a link for me between the modern yoga of my intuition and the classical yoga of my learning.
– Shy Sayar, Yoga Therapist & Owner, Yoga One Petaluma, CA
[Remski] attempts, quite movingly, to reawaken us to the beauty and power of the world around us–to leave the guilded cage of our metaphysics and become a part of the world that made us, rather than believe that we are the genesis of our own mother and father. The spiritual logic of threads weaves a bright pattern of humility: accepting the mud of this world as parent, the body as source of thought, relationship as the locus of meaning. It seeks to reposition our awareness back to being creatures of this world rather than divine creators, or worse yet, as spiritual prisoners of the flesh.
– Shyam Dodge
“…the only rendering of the Sūtras I know of that can be read to an audience like poetry, and that audience not only understands, but is moved.”
– Christopher D. Wallis, author of Tantra Illuminated
It actually does what the Yoga Sutra is supposed to do: to serve as a string of seeds for meditation and self-reflection. I actually think this is the version of the YS all training programs should be reading.
– Richard Rosen, author of Original Yoga: Rediscovering Traditional Practices of Hatha Yoga
“The beauty of this book is its relevance and context in modern society. Through the skillful hand of an accomplished, contemporary writer, who is a respected practitioner of yoga and ayurveda, this remix of Patanjali’s sutras shows the very positive influence and creativity the West can have on the evolving art of yoga. This book is a must read for anyone interested in applying the ancient principles of yoga to our crazy, modern lives with originality and humor!”
– Peter Sterios, Founder of Manduka
“You reveal the [Sutras] to be as much a work of poetry as philosophy, and as much a work relevant to multiple forms of daily practice as to speculative, even soteriological, reflection.”
– Professor David Carl, Director of the Graduate Institute, St. John’s College
“The book makes a great contribution and should be of interest to both scholars and practitioners.”
– Professor Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies, Harvard Divinity School
I’ve struggled with the sutras for a while. Bits of wonder mixed with confusing, un-useful threads that take me down dead ends. You’ve done a great job of reflecting modern thinking and making the whole book useful. I find your writing intelligent and humble. Good all around. I’ve been using your remix of the guna-s : urge, gravity, resolution, in my classes this week. Crossing between the tangible/scientific and metaphor/spiritual to gracefully bring clients deeper into yoga.
– Lisa Wells, Director at Live Well Yoga in Portland, Oregon
I believe it will change the way we think about Patanjali–and the yoga we all practice– for many years to come. Creative, original, and full of great heart.
– Professor Jody Greene, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz
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.
Shows me how to reject and love a spiritual text at the same time.
– read the full review by Mid Walsh on Elephant Journal.
“…I find myself continually challenged, informed, and bedazzled within its pages…”
– read the full review by Jay Winston on Elephant Journal.
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THROUGH CREATESPACE.
threads of yoga is a “remix” of Patanjali’s yoga sutras, pieced together from a dozen other translations, classical commentaries and reflections from 15 years of personal practice. It presents this ancient text in a revitalized form, as if Patanjali’s vast acumen for consciousness studies had benefited from the discoveries of modernity and postmodernity. It’s a project I began with my friend and colleague Scott Petrie. We wrote the first version of the project together.
In the text and commentaries, I blend philosophy, psychotherapy, literary theory, anthropology and aesthetics. I am specifically indebted to the literature and practice of psychoanalysis for my thoughts around the child-developmental and psycho-evolutionary stages displayed in classical yogic thought.
I have given the textuality of my remix a fluid mood, presenting it in prose form, in sentence form with contemporary poetic line-breaks, in its conventional mode of one aphorism per line, as well as aphorism-plus-commentary interlaced. My intention is that this visual flexibility helps to hint at the oral and performative quality of the aphorisms, and to loosen the feelings of calcification that often accrue to “important books”. My thought is that if this book is as visually variegated as the oral tradition is variegated in accent, tone, projection, aural ambience, digression, and anecdote, perhaps it can actually begin to do what it describes: disrupt conscious patterning with moments of perceptual wonderment and unexpected integration.
Interlaced amongst Patanjali’s reveries are my own, in the spirit of encouraging others to dream in the language of yoga philosophy as well.
The intention is for threads to be available for purchase online in the first week of November.
Excerpts from the text:
Audio of the Padas, read by the author:
(Click “play” below for 60-second previews of each pada.)
This is a massively important work… finally a philosophical text rich in contemporary wisdom that can speak to the radical embodiment and deepening intimacy with ecology and relationship that modern yoga practice inspires. Matthew is not only the most stunning writer in prose working in the (underpaid) world of yoga discourse he’s also one of its most fluent cultural critics. More importantly, what he does here is pave a new road forward for the future of Western spirituality: embodied, psychologically informed, with an aesthetic so potent it has the power to heal.
– Shyam Dodge, author of Wet, Hot & Wild American Yogi