Unlocking young minds
In her latest book, city-based author Roopa Pai shares Patanjali’s techniques to help young readers approach their increasingly complex lives with positivity and confidence
BENGALURU: Childhood and adolescence are incredibly crucial stages in one’s life – a time of constant learning that has an immense impact on one’s later life. But these days, children are faced with a world filled with constant distractions and challenges that are unlike anything that previous generations have experienced. A recently-released book by city-based author Roopa Pai titled 'The Yoga Sutras for Children' (Hachette India; Rs 399) promises to be a transformative guide for young minds, teaching them to harness their abilities and embrace life with confidence amidst all the chaos.
The Yoga Sutras for Children demystifies Maharshi Pantanji’s two-thousand-year-old text on yoga for young readers. “I had very little knowledge about yoga sutras, except that they were an ancient set of aphorisms composed by a certain Maharishi Patanjali. During the lockdown, I heard a virtual lecture that unpacked a stunningly simple proposition of yoga sutras – calm your mind, and all the riches of the world will be yours. I was instantly captivated. Being primarily a children’s author who has written about other ancient texts for young audiences, I felt this would be a great text to delve into next – it seemed to be well laid-out to help a generation that had been born into a world of neverending sensory stimulation,” says Pai, whose previous works include The Gita for Children and The Vedas and Upanishads for Children.
In the book, Pai focuses on the first two sections of the yoga sutras, Samadhi Pada, and Sadhana Pada, which she believes young readers could relate to more effectively. The book also features an avatar of Patanjali himself, who is engaging and delivers his teachings with humour. “I turned Patanjali into the mysterious Maharishi P, who delivers even his “No exceptions! No excuses!” commands with a kindly twinkle and a laugh, so that he would become more accessible to young readers. All the examples I have used in the book to make a point clearer are drawn from the daily lives of children today so that they can relate to them,” Pai adds.
Meanwhile, the book also features rich artwork illustrated by Sayan Mukherjee, helping children grasp abstract concepts more easily. “Sayan’s illustrations not only complement the text but help to clarify some of the ideas in it. Sometimes, especially when you are dealing with an abstract text, thinking visually – or better, seeing something depicted visually – can give you a sudden moment of insight or clarity into it,” says Pai.
So, what does Pai hope young readers will take away from her book? She passionately states, “I hope young readers will come to understand that wherever they are at this stage in their lives and whatever their circumstances, they contain within them the power to shape their destinies,each day, in the manner they desire,” she says, adding, “I hope they realise that they are not constrained by the labels that have been given to them by other people – arrogant, clever, unambitious, responsible, fat, funny, born leader – or by the boxes they are expected to fit into.”