When we practice yoga in studios we don’t really hear the name Patanjali, although he is the father of modern yoga. He was the one who synthesized the knowledge about yoga from older traditions, and created the yoga sutras.
Yoga sutras are a collection of foundational texts of the yoga philosophy. Patanjali created a system that could cross the centuries and come until us. Yoga sutras are like a toolbox where we can find guidelines for living a meaningful purpose life, and learn how to integrate it. We can find at least 195 sutras.
Historically we can trace his work back prior to 400CE but there are still a lot of confusions around his origins.
There are a lot of legends about him, but one says that Patanjali was sent on earth to teach yoga, he fell from paradise as a little snake in the open palms of Gonika, a yogini, who was praying for a child for many weeks. The little snake transformed into a human and Gonika adopted him. She named him Patanjali, Pata meaning “fallen” and Anjali “palms folded in prayer”. His task was to bring enlightenment to earth. The snake represents also the energy of spiritual awakening.