Patanjali was an ancient sage and the author of the Yoga Sutra’s. Little is known about his birth or the time in which he lived, however, he was considered an enlightened master and teacher who compiled the aspects of yoga into a system which is documented in the Yoga Sutra’s – one of the preeminent texts which underpin modern yoga. He is credited as the father of yoga because through the yoga system that he documented and shared through his teachings, most modern yoga systems stem from these roots.
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 196 Indian sutras covering 8 concepts which underpin the practice of yoga – Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyhara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. It was the most translated ancient Indian text in the medieval era, having been translated into about forty Indian languages and two non-Indian languages (Old Javanese and Arabic). However, in this era there were several other foundational texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Vasistha which were more widely known. It was in the 20th century that western practitioners of yoga elevated the Yoga Sutras to a status it never knew previously.
Patanjali’s teachings and Sutra’s provide a foundation and lineage to which most yoga is connected.
N.B This is just a short extract of the history of Patanjali and by no means an exhaustive biography.