Between June and December 2012, Isha Outreach conducted numerous Isha Yoga and Isha Kriya sessions, focused on helping students in government schools cope with exam stress and anxiety. The programs were held in 41 schools that are part of Isha Outreach’s Government School Adoption Program (GSAP) in the Dharmapuri, Salem, Vizhipuram and Cuddalore districts of Tamil Nadu, South India.
Isha Outreach’s GSAP aims to improve the overall well-being of children in rural and underprivileged areas by providing them with a quality, holistic education. The free yoga programs were offered to enhance the students’ learning abilities, giving them techniques to improve their inner well-being and help them deal with academic workloads.
Isha already conducts yoga programs for children and has seen positive results in participants’ well-being, including improved physical and mental health, greater clarity, peace, and concentration, and less tension and anxiety. Based on these results, Isha Outreach decided to launch these programs in their GSAP schools, with the goal of targeting students in the 10th and 12th standards who are under a great deal of pressure with SSLC and HSC exams. The programs were also offered to supporting teachers in these schools and to some 6th and 7th standard students.
The Isha Yoga programs were held for three days and reached 6,651 students in total. The Isha Kriya meditation sessions, which included games and practice sessions, reached a total of 2,309 students. The yoga programs for teachers, which ran for one day, benefitted 146 teachers in total (64 Government school teachers and 82 Isha Vidhya teachers).
During the programs, participants were taught specialized yoga practices like Surya Namaskar, asanas like Patangasana and Sishupalasana, and the meditation technique of Isha Kriya. The programs empowered students and teachers to take charge of their own physical and mental health, giving them an ongoing practice to improve their overall wellness and better manage their daily lives. Through regular practice of Isha Kriya, they gain an increase in mental clarity and perception, and through Surya Namaskar, they gain numerous physical health benefits such as:
- A work-out for the muscles, joints and ligaments
- Strengthening of the heart, and stimulation of the cardiovascular system
- Oxygenation of the blood, and support for the respiratory system
- Benefits for the digestive and nervous systems, and stimulation of the lymphatic system
- Overall conditioning of virtually every system in the body
The Isha Yoga and Isha Kriya sessions were a great success and very well received by all. Here’s what some students had to say about them:
What I learnt from the Isha Yoga class is that here they didn’t tell us how to be peaceful and calm. When our teachers used to say, 'be calm' I wouldn't listen to them. But when I entered the yoga class, I just became calm within myself. I came to know about Sadhguru during the program. I was very happy during the three days of the program. I had never attended any classes with this kind of enthusiasm and peace before. I will continue my practices for the next 48 days and will do them twice a day. My sincere gratitude to Sadhguru, and to the teacher for holding this class for us.
I came to the yoga class without any expectation. But I feel very mentally peaceful now. I never liked to be at home because my mother would scold me and I wouldn’t listen to her. But after the class I have decided not to be angry with my mother or with anybody else. I have trust in Sadhguru, I now have hope that I can manage any situation in my life. Thanks for teaching us these yoga practices.