In today’s world, children rarely have an opportunity to explore their connection with nature. Isha Yoga Summer Program for Children (earlier known as Nature Awareness Program)  is a fun-filled four-and-a-half day residential summer camp that instills a love for nature in children.

This year, over 180 kids were a part of 2 programs from May 13-17 and May 20-24. The children visited the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghats. Elephants, gaur, hornbills, black langurs, malabar giant squirrels, and even a leopard (although it was only for a brief while by a few of the volunteers) were spotted and marveled at. The kids observed how each of the animals like langurs, elephants and squirrels were so well adapted and in tune with their habitat.

Trekking through the ghats, the kids passed through deciduous forest and verdant rainforest climes.  They were quite wonderstruck by the beauty of nature, especially at the abundance of life in the rainforest. They learnt about the rock-like nests of the hornbills, about frogs that live their whole lives in trees – never coming to the ground, and about how important the rainforest and it’s water-cycle is even to a city dweller (they play a big role in certain perennial rivers). Some of them even commented on how cool the rainforest felt, even though they were trekking in the afternoon in the middle of summer. One of them commented, “If we have forests like this everywhere, we don’t need any air-conditioning at all!”

 

One of the program’s participant shares her experience:

“The program changed me for the better. I learnt that if I want to be a part of nature and enjoy it, I have to learn to experience it by hearing the sounds and language of the forest filled with so many insects and wildlife. One had to spend time and understand what a forest means to Mother Earth.”

“It was a beautiful experience – we trekked different mountains, played in the waterfalls and learnt about different snakes, birds and other insects. I not only enjoyed all this but came to respect the life-forms around me as well the need to preserve them. I feel I learnt something worth taking back home and tell everyone at home about nature and yoga.

The yoga is something that has in just a few days become very important in my life. It made me a very different person. I feel calmer, more soulful, energetic and wakeful. This program made me a much better person, more human and happier. I enjoyed it tremendously and I think so did everyone else, judging from the tears that were rolling down their faces on the last day.”

Editor’s Note: For more information, take a look at the Isha Yoga Summer Program for Children (earlier known as Nature Awareness Program) brochure.