To make use of the summer vacation, the local organizers in the villages around Salem, Tamil Nadu planned to organize a yoga program for children in their center. This was the first such class in this area because so far they had a doubt whether village children would participate in these programs. Finally they fixed a 7-day Isha Yoga Class for children, which happened from 10-17th May, 2012.
Our clinic doctor Maa Panini and care taker Ms. Priya went to door-to-door in the villages around Isha Rural Health clinic in Kullapanayakanur, Salem to promote the program. Initially there was some reluctance from the villagers, but later when they heard that their neighbors and relatives were participating, more children got enrolled.
Initially they aimed to enroll 80 children but ended up with 109 children from 10 villages around Kullappanayakanur (a 20km radius). The program happened in 4 sessions to accommodate all the students. Students were given an introduction to yoga practices including a few simple life enhancing asanas and kriyas. The program also included fun games and play, so that the children experience a sense of belonging and unity. The children eagerly participated in the course and came on time everyday by catching buses or shared autos.
It was really touching to see how they gave themselves to the program. One girl went about meticulously stretching the carpets and cleaning them before the session. When we asked the children to make a drawing and bring it for class, the children didn’t have chart paper to buy, but made drawings on sheets of paper, which were very neat and creative.
The last day was organized as a cultural event, where the students sang and performed a variety of dances and skits. Volunteers helped in getting gifts like pencil boxes and water colors for all the children.
During a visit to a local village recently, one of the parents shared that nowadays her child is getting up at 5am every morning and doing the practices, which has made her very proud.
Participants of Isha Yoga Children’s programs often experience enhanced concentration and memory, more focus, and improved mind-body coordination. The practices learnt help prevent obesity, asthma, sinusitis and other chronic ailments.