Students these days are constantly under stress to meet the demands of various social and academic pressures and the ancient practice of yoga offers a multitude of benefits to modern-day students of all age groups. Yoga’s combination of breath and movement can help reduce the social and academic stress a child goes through and helps soothe cramped bodies jammed into desks and hunched over computers. Yoga can benefit kids significantly, and in some ways, possibly even more so than it nourishes adults.
To understand this in detail we spoke to Pooja Naredi who is a certiﬁed yoga practitioner from the A.P. University of Yoga and did her teacher training course in Yoga from Kapila Maharishi Research for resources- KMRR institute of Yoga, Hyderabad. She has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 6 years. She was part of the faculty at Rekha’s Yoga Studio and presently runs her own Yoga center at Banjara Hills.
Read on for the detailed conversation we had with her:
Q1. What are the various beneﬁts that yoga and meditation offer to modern-day students?
Pooja: Yoga is a way of life. It is an ancient science of keeping the body and mind in unison to reach optimum health. The modern era of technology is taking a huge toll on the student’s health. Yoga and meditation can serve as powerful tools for the youth to lead a healthy and balanced life. With regular practice of asanas and meditation – a.) self-discipline and focus develop, b.) students are able to handle or cope up with work pressure, exam stress or fears, c.)develop a clear vision of the future, d.) make the right decisions by practicing mindfulness and lastly e.) handle success and failure both with a balanced approach.
Q2. How does yoga teach students to better manage their emotions and reactions as well as to respect the feelings and emotions of others?
Pooja: Sage Patanjali, the father of Yoga has laid the eightfold path in Yoga sutras which says that yoga is not only about postures and breathing practices but it gives us a community. It is about social behavior. Not bothering or harming others through our words, actions n deeds(AHIMSA). Yoga gives us a link to our true selves. Asanas, breathwork, meditation and the study of yogic scriptures is a channel to express our emotions, address our fears, love and accept ourselves completely and then comes acceptance and love for others, teaching us to live in harmony, respecting the feelings and opinions of every individual.
Q3. Can yoga and meditation help students be better at applying themselves when studying or learning in a classroom?
Pooja: Yes, undoubtedly Yoga and meditation are probably some of the oldest and time-tested methods that can take a student closer to his/her goals. A wavering unfocused mind is a reason for low grades at school or college.
- Pranayama (breath control) brings the ﬂeeting mind to a standstill allowing better concentration.
- Mudras (hand gestures) help in making changes to the ﬂow of life force, creating mindfulness and clear vision.
- OM chanting is another powerful tool to improve brain functioning, enhance cognitive thinking and ensure increased ﬂow of blood to the nervous system thus ensuring better focus.
Q4. How does yoga help in improving a student’s posture?
Pooja: In today’s era of technology where students are totally dependent on technology-leaning on your desk all day to work on the computer, lounging on a comfy couch or craning your neck downwards to look down into your cell phone can curve the spine and affect your posture. Through yoga asanas – Mountain pose, Child’s pose, Bridge pose, Cobra pose – the core is strengthened and the spine can be lengthened. Many of the strains and pulls throughout the musculature can be counteracted with daily yoga moves to stretch and correct the body posture.
Q5. The yoga environment and philosophy encourage the training of your mind to concentrate. How true is this statement?
Pooja: The eight limbs of yoga – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi work together to train your mind towards performing every action with full clarity and conﬁdence. The process begins by practicing detachment from outside distractions and starting to focus on the inner self.
Yoga trains the mind to concentrate towards a perpetual goal. With routine yoga practice, we develop clarity in our thoughts, observing our shortcomings, overcoming our fears and limiting beliefs and then reach towards the stillness of the mind which in turn leads to a better concentration and alignment with an individual’s purpose in life.