You can pretty much find everything in every self help book you’ve ever read or heard about concisely outlined in the Yoga Sutras. The author, Patanjali, understood some very deep things about human psychology.
What if Patanjali was alive now? What if he wrote a self-help book and then got interviewed by Oprah? You might overhear something like this in the coat room after yoga class.
“Did you see Patanjali on Oprah?”
“OH-MY-GOD! That was completely amazing! I mean, I felt like he was talking to me personally? It was incredible!”
“Totally – that’s exactly how I felt! I was like, ‘How do you know exactly what I’m going through!”
“He’s SO peaceful.”
“When he said that part about how, if you can’t stop obsessing about something negative, you should figure out what the opposite of that would be and then meditate on it. That was so totally cool. And I’ve been so annoyed with myself for not being able to deal with my completely irritating mother-in-law. So now every time she calls I think of her as “soothing and sweet” instead of “Incredibly irritating.” I mean, that really helps. I wouldn’t have believed it but it really does.”
“I loved that! I can’t wait to buy his book, have you read it?”
“Yeah, I got it from my sister for Christmas cause she said I would really like it cause I’m so into yoga and all – and she thought it might help me not be so obsessive about my weight. Oh, did you see the part where he was talking about how if your mind is like, all over the place, you can focus it by thinking about something that makes you feel totally relaxed and peaceful.”
“Yeah, that was cool. I was totally on the beach in Maui.”
“Awesome! He’s amazing.” sigh.
“Kind of a bummer he’s a monk.”
Here are the two sutras – they sound great in Sanskrit. Give ’em a listen.