Yoga for Mind, Body Control and Peace

Self-practice on the balcony. Bihar.

June 20, 2021
Maira village in Punjab, Dunda village in Uttarakhand

“I bring a mat and my dad is assisting with the camera,” explains Kushi, a 4th standard student from Dunda, Uttarakhand. This is how the online yoga session starts.

The teacher and the students are located in their own homes while having a connection via smartphones. During the latest lockdown, the yoga sessions were able to be organised like that. Siblings are gathering in one space and take turns to hold the phone to film the class. In this way everyone can follow the teacher’s instructions.

Tomorrow is the International Yoga Day and the children are sharing their experiences with yoga.

Kajal, a 6th standard student from Punjab, says that her favourite asana is Vriksasana, the tree pose. It is because she feels that “my legs are becoming strong.”

She has learned a couple of lofty insights from her class book where it is said that yoga is a gift to humankind. She feels that it is important to mention the list of benefits: asanas are the exercise for body parts and muscles. Daily exercise helps losing fat and having good sleep, while maintaining a balanced appetite and healthy digestion. Furthermore, asana practice gives mind and body control which gives peace of mind.

Her two sisters are sharing the phone and they do the asanas in their living room. One by one they show their poses to the teacher who guides the session.

Vandana from the same village says that her favourite is Paschimottasana, seated forward bend. She sits on the ground, takes a moment to place herself in a good position, and bends over. While coming out of the pose, she quickly comes back to the conversation and exclaims that she has another bunch of asanas which she likes. Obviously, Vandana likes all of the asanas she has learnt.

Riya, Uttarakhand, is a slightly older student and she has more experience. Her mother has been teaching her. She likes to mention the relaxing aspect of yoga: “After doing Halasana, the back feels relaxed. I feel relaxed.” She is also doing some simple Pranayama breathing. Riya mentions that she likes to read about yoga from the books.

Khushi’s favourite asana is Ardha Purvottanasa because “it is fun to look upwards. Sometimes I feel like doing it on the veranda of my house or on the outside when it is not raining. Either my parents are with me while I do yoga or I just practice with my dad.”

At first, tuition teacher Neelam from Punjab village didn’t know how to conduct the online yoga sessions during the lockdown. Along with the other teachers who already knew how to do it, Ashit (Odisha) and Subhadra (Uttarakhand), Neelam gave it a try. Her online sessions instantly became lively and joyous events. Children are eagerly participating in the class because, by making sure everyone gets a turn, she managed to give attention to everyone.

While observing the online asana classes from a distance (between the states of Kerala and Uttarakhand there are a several thousand kilometres), some essential aspects have become very clear: the children have developed a regular yoga practice, they know the theory and they are enthusiastic to talk about it. They have faith in the knowledge of their Indian cultural and spiritual heritage. This faith coupled with persistent practice is guaranteed to bring their lives to a full blossoming.

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