Patanjali compiled the Yoga sūtras, which is essentially is a series of exercises to strengthen and clear the chakras in order that the deciple could reach the state of Yoga, Yoga being the connection with God not the excercises that is has become in the Western Tradition.   The Yogasutras is one of the most important texts in the Hindu tradition and the foundation of classical Yoga.  It is the Indian Yoga text that was most translated in its medieval era into forty Indian languages.

The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are a collection of 196 Indian sutras on the theory and practice of yoga. The Yoga Sutras were compiled prior to 400 CE by Sage Patanjali who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from older traditions. The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali 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. David Gordon White points to a period of when the text fell into relative obscurity for nearly 700 years from the 12th to 19th century, and made a comeback in late 19th century due to the efforts of Swami Vivekananda, the Theosophical Society and others. It gained prominence again as a comeback classic in the 20th century.

Before the 20th century, history indicates that the medieval Indian yoga scene was dominated by the various other texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Vasistha, texts attributed to Yajnavalkya and Hiranyagarbha, as well as literature on hatha yoga, tantric yoga and Pashupata Shaivism yoga rather than the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.

In the 20th century, modern practitioners of yoga elevated the Yoga Sutras to a status it never knew previously.

Hindu orthodox tradition holds the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali to be the foundational text of classical Yoga philosophy. However, the appropriation – and misappropriation – of the Yoga Sutras and its influence on later systematizations of yoga has been questioned by scholars such as David Gordon White.