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A Shift In The Way We See Education: Importance Of Yoga And Meditation In Schools

When you hear the word ‘yoga’, chances are that an image of people twisting in presumably painful poses might pop up in your head. Yes, postures or asanas are an important part of the teachings of yoga, but they are not all that there is to it

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“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." - Aristotle 

It all started a couple of years back, when my 5-year-old walked up to me one day, a little baffled and confused, and said, “Is it wrong to help your friends? Why does Yuvi (name changed) bully everyone? Why does our class teacher scream all the time? I think, they should all do yoga like you, and then they would become nice like you.” I asked, a little amused, “and what made you say so?” To which, the answer was, “because when you do yoga, you don’t get angry and don’t scream at me.” Well, to be honest, I was taken aback, pondered and watched my child innocently chuckle and get back to her own little world. For her, it must have been a preposterous or a candor statement, but it repletes me and gave me my vision in life. So, let’s get into understanding, the importance of yoga in the lives of our children in co-relation to the modern day society that we are living in.

When you hear the word ‘yoga’, chances are that an image of people twisting in presumably painful poses might pop up in your head. Yes, postures or asanas are an important part of the teachings of yoga, but they are not all that there is to it. So, how well do you really know yoga? As the world gears up to celebrate the International Day of Yoga, let us try and unravel the mysteries surrounding. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means union of the individual and universal consciousness. 

WHY TO INTRODUCE YOGA AND MEDITATION INTO SCHOOLS?

The search for new and improved methods of education continues, as it has done through ages. With the discovery and application of yoga, it seems as though a breakthrough is about to take place. The scientific discovery of the functions of the different sides of the brain has furthered the cause of yoga and expansion of consciousness by explaining the need for the implementation of these disciplines in our lives. Since education is one of our first priorities when we think of ways of improving our society, how do we decide what is the best thing and the best way to teach it. Up till now most of the education system concentrated on imparting professional skills and developing the intellectual side of our nature. However, there remains a big deficiency in education which is directed at making us better human beings. This has been left for parents, religious institutions to take care of, but given the state of society today, there is still room for improvement. 

HOW DOES YOGA HELP?

It Enhances Physical Flexibility: Yoga promotes physical strength because children learn to use all of their muscles in new ways. Whether a pose is done standing, sitting, or lying down, each one can challenge various muscle groups, while helping a child become aware of his body and how it efficiently functions.

It Refines Balance and Coordination: Balance is a key element of yoga. Balancing poses were created to promote mental and physical poise, as mental clarity and stability emerge from the effort of trying the poses. 

Develops Focus and Concentration: The act of practicing poses encourages children to clear their mind and focus on the effort. As a result of this single focus to achieve a particular pose or stay balanced, yoga helps children to focus and concentrate in school and get better grades.

It Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence: Yoga helps to instill confidence and to bring learning to children on an experiential level. Yoga teaches them to persevere, be patient, and work towards their goals. Yoga also provides tools for practicing compassion, mindfulness, generosity, focus, strength, and flexibility.

It Strengthens the Mind-Body Connection: Yoga helps children achieve a sound mind in a sound body by exercising the physical body and calming the mental spirit. " 

Our children live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, and competitive sports. We usually don't think of these influences as stressful for our kids, but often they are. The bustling pace of our children's lives can have a profound effect on their innate joy—and usually not for the better. Yoga can help counter these pressures. When children learn techniques for self-health, relaxation, and inner fulfillment, they can navigate life's challenges with a little more ease. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that's noncompetitive.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Suman Virdi Batra

Suman Virdi Batra is a registered children’s yoga teacher and mindfulness coach.She also trains teachers for the program "yoga in you school", which includes introduction of three minute yoga breaks in the classroom. Having a master degree in communication studies, she has a vision of creating a model, which builds a culture where positive behavior and developing a true self is taught

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