Title: The Yoga Sutras for Children
Author: Roopa Pai
Illustrations by: Sayan Mukherjee (Cover design by Neelima P. Aryan)
Publisher: Hachette India
No. of pages: 296 pages
Recommended age group: Young adult (13 years and above)
A commentary on the study of yoga and its outcome suitable for the millennials.
The vastness of Indian scriptures can be daunting for writers and readers alike. Acclaimed best-selling author, Roopa Pai has once again masterfully distilled down the complex subject of Indian philosophy from a 2000-year-old text of the Yoga Sutras and presented it in a lucid and engaging format.
The preface of the book introduces the Yoga Sutras (abbreviated as YS for the yuppies), a relatively lesser-known sacred text, and pitches it in an appealing manner to catch the attention of the millennials. We are introduced to Maharishi Patanjali (again presented as a “cool-sounding” Maharishi P), an enlightened and enigmatic sage who wrote the Yoga Sutras many eons ago.
Roopa Pai dives deep into the Yoga Sutras and demystifies it for us. She expertly navigates the choppy waters of Indian philosophy and anchors several key concepts into our minds which will help us become better versions of ourselves and lead fulfilled lives. The author introduces the philosophical concepts of practicing yoga and explains that yoga isn’t synonymous with Himalayan sages contorting into asanas or chanting ‘Aum’!
Yoga is a way of life, a school of philosophy, a journey of self-discovery that helps you shed your ignorance and focus on your conscience.
‘The Yoga Sutras for Children’ gently introduces several concepts to impressionable young readers: altruism; mind-scaping: contouring your thoughts and emotions; and how to mindfully observe your thoughts and not react to every stimulus. It encourages you to show compassion to the less fortunate (karuna) and to celebrate the success of others (mudita). The book also introduces the concept of ‘vrittis’ (impressions on our mind) and the universal vitality of chanting “Aum”. Roopa Pai helps us ruminate over concepts of existentialism, Advaita, and other nuggets of philosophy.
The author emphasizes that YS is neither a religious text nor does it claim spiritual superiority over other scriptures.
Any commentary on a philosophical text runs the risk of sounding droll or preachy. Interspersed with beautiful illustrations by Sayan Mukherjee, Roopa Pai skillfully weaves anecdotes and humour in between Sanskrit couplets to deliver a thought-provoking handbook that is both appealing and linguistically relatable to Gen Z.
Personally, the most striking aspect of the book is how the author dusts off the cobwebs from an ancient hallowed text (perhaps viewed as outdated by a few) and beautifully presents it to the social media-savvy young ‘uns. Maharishi Patanjali is an omnipresent guiding voice throughout Roopa Pai’s eloquent and enlightening words.
‘Yoga Sutras for Children’ is a fantastic guide for children and adults alike. As you peruse the pages, the words will ignite a spark in your mind, activate those chakras, and help you channel cosmic energy so that you may grow and lead more fulfilled lives.
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Disclaimer: Sowmya is a part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received this book as a review copy from the publisher.