Aug 15, 2023

Book Review: The Yoga Sutras for Children by Roopa Pai

 A few weeks back, I started reading "The four chapters on Freedom" by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. This is a commentary on Maharishi Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Around the same time, I stumbled upon Roopa Pai's latest book "The Yoga Sutras for Children".

Her earlier book "Gita for Children" is one of my absolute favorites as it simplified the sacred text with a lot of relatable examples. Her style of writing demystifies scriptures and makes it easy to approach them without any trepidation due to the lack of knowledge of Sanskrit.

Her version of "Yoga Sutras" is a commentary on commentary by various other scholars. She has brought out the essence, making the reader feel more curious to go deeper. Though it says "for children", it is certainly relevant for adults too, as the issues being brought up related to mind control are something many of us face today.

She starts with the objective of Yoga and its role in expanding our awareness. She then sets the context on the structure of Yoga Sutras and dives deeper into the first 2 sections - Samadhipada and Sadhanapada. The essence of each of these sections is further distilled down into key secrets.

I loved how she beautifully relates vrittis to the trains that come and go in front of a railway platform and we observe these trains without getting onboard. The explanation of the different buckets of vrittis and how they are classified is well articulated. She lays down the qualities required for mind control, the ingredients of a calm mind, and rewards that one might experience through mind control with the help of the relevant Yoga Sutras and their word-by-word breakdown.

The basic premise behind the ladder of eight limbs (Ashtanga) is summarized along with a detailed explanation of the first 5 rungs of the ladder. The examples given specifically for Yamas and Niyamas make it easier to understand for a young reader.

This book will be ideal for children above 14-15 years of age. However, it might be a little too heavy for a young reader (around 10-12 years), in my opinion. If you are an adult and an absolute beginner in learning Yoga Sutras, this book will be a good place to start.

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