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Yoga in schools: Yes or No?

Yoga in schools: Yes or No?

Declared by United Nations in December 2014, India along with countries from across the globe celebrates 3rd International Yoga Day today. Apart from New Delhi, various Yoga programmes are being held in all states. While the benefits of Yoga are plentiful, on this day, NT BUZZ gets the pulse of people on whether or not Yoga should be made compulsory in schools

This June Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who also holds the portfolio for Education, stated that Yoga would be introduced as part of value education in the curriculums of schools and higher secondaries. This is being done so as give thrust to quality education.

While some hail this decision, there were many who vehemently oppose it – for they believe it is a deliberate move to divide people on religious lines. Those who oppose say that the choice should be left to students and parents, while others believe it is a good move as it will have several positive effects on youngsters.

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Yoga is already part of physical training in schools. Yoga and physical activity is important because if one’s physical fitness in not good than one’s mental state will not be good to cope with studies. Although the mantras in yoga are similar to the ones chanted by Hindus it should be considered as an Indian physical exercise.”

— Fr Bolmax Pereira,

Parish Priest, Nerul

International Yoga Day is commemorated to spread awareness about the benefits of yoga. Yog or Yoga is not just exercise but a way of life that one has to adopt. The overall change in the person is seen in his physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga is eight folded, and a yogi needs to follow a set of rules and regulations before starting with the asanas. You cannot directly start as a Yoga teacher as purity of mind and senses is important before you start. For meditation one needs to have physical control of the body to mediate for a longer period. Stability of mind begins on day one and then gradually develops. Over time you start getting a better control of your mind. You develop your concentration, focus and breath. Yoga helps control one’s stress. Yoga is a gift of India to the world. However, one cannot associate it with any particular religion.”

— Sujal Patil, chief medical officer- Traya, Sangolda

In schools and colleges any fitness regime or sports should be made compulsory. Yoga can be a one-hour session may be once a week or once a fortnight or there could possibly be a mix of pranayam (an ancient Indian practice concerned with controlling your breath) or some basic yoga poses. Today, a lot of youngsters and school going children are not very active and there is a need for them to engage in some physical fitness activity in order to remain healthy. Any routine that makes them active should be included in the curriculum.

— Princy Mehta, dance and fitness instructor, Dona Paula.

Yoga should be made compulsory in schools as it helps with self-transformation. There are two types of yoga – physical and mental yoga. If both types of yoga are incorporated in schools and colleges it will be a very efficient and helpful tool for youngsters. As students tend to go through a lot of stress and anxiety, yoga can help them relax and unwind. It also improves concentration level and practicing yoga can benefit them in many ways.

— Rajesh Velingkar, wellness consultant and associate at Brahma Kumaris Mind and Body department.

Yoga should not be made compulsory in school and colleges but having it in schools and colleges would be a very good idea. The benefits are well known, it can help students focus and also relax their mind and body as they have tough schedules.

I do not practice yoga to understand the depths of it but I have had few experiences with it. And as far as I understand, it’s an activity which would bring about peace and harmony in your mind allowing you to focus on the task at hand by not letting the mind wander. It also helps one’s muscles, breathing, and blood circulation and provides other benefits that give one a refreshed and active body. There need not be any religious association as today yoga is practiced by many faiths and has become more popular in the West than in India.”

— Ghananil Naik, student, Bicholim

I think Yoga is a real good way of keeping physically and mentally fit. It contributes to one’s mental well being. It is good that it be included in school curriculum as it promotes concentration among students. Besides, it also has a spiritual aspect and thus provides strong spiritual roots among youngsters. I personally think it is a comprehensive way of achieving total wellness – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. Its benefits are known and thus will benefit youngsters.”

— Radhika Nayak,

educationist, Ponda

If Yoga is being promoted on the basis of religion than I am not of the opinion that it should be included in school curriculums. However, known for its many benefits, like physical fitness and overall wellness it can be included. However, I do believe it should not be made compulsory as not all students like to practise Yoga and thus should be left optional so students have the freedom to choose it if they wish to.”

— Fr Jeronimo D’Silva, educationist, Mapusa

 

Yoga should not be forced on anybody but as part of our Indian culture it should be included in our curriculum and Yoga periods have already been allotted in schools. Yoga is beneficial as it keeps our body fit and Yoga asanas can easily be done by any age group people. Yoga is often associated with religion like Hinduism because it was revived by sadhus as they had no other way to resonate their body so they used to chant a single syllable ‘Om’ to resonate their mind and body.”

— Ansgar Fernandes,

PE teacher, Siolim

 

(Compiled by Danuska Da Gama, Ramandeep Kaur, Venita Gomes and Sheras Fernandes)

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