The legendary author of the Yoga Sutras. The story of Patanjali’s birth has mythic dimensions. One version says that in order to teach yoga on Earth he fell from heaven in the form of a little snake. He landed in the upturned hands (a gesture known as anjali mudra) of his virgin mother, Gonika—herself a powerful yogini. Here, he’s regarded as an incarnation of the thousand-headed serpent-king named Shesha Remainder or Ananta (endless), whose coils are said to support the god Vishnu. Read about Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.