Pankaj Kumar (History Teacher & Yoga Instructor)
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that has trickled down the centuries and has recently gained value world over. It literally means union, is a complete path that helps individuals deal with physical, emotional stress in everyday life. It teaches one to have complete control over the mind and body. It was prevalent in ancient India and has now spread to the other parts of the World. On 11th December, 2014 the UN General Assembly declared 21st June as International Yoga Day.
When the entire world is enticed by Yoga, can children be left far behind? It’s tough to be a child in the twenty first century. The world is in a fast forward mode with busy parents, academic pressure, co curricular activities, competition and of course lots of technology all around! And with the falling standards of nutrition, children definitely need something to boost their immunity and health. And Yoga is definitely the key to it all. In children, it helps them to counter distractions, temptations and pressure of any sort. It helps them to develop an awareness about their body, builds concentration and a positive self image. It helps them to deal better with challenges in school and feel fit.
Breathing exercises energise and relax as well as stimulate immunity. Yoga not only helps them to improve their digestion and maintain a healthy weight but also strengthens the body. Balancing poses help increase focus and attention naturally. Gradually, the bodies of children become more flexible and they learn to move with ease.
Basically Yoga is meditative. It helps children to remain calm and composed. Anger issues can be best dealt with this therapy. It enhances all aspects of the personality, body, mind and spirit. Children can do it as a part of games and sports. Many schools have it as a part of their curriculum. Children can be seen practicing Yoga poses even while playing as toddlers. But it is believed that a child of eight years or more is ideally fit to formally begin training in Yoga.
Parents are often found complaining of ailments such as common cold, digestion problems, fatigue, allergies and even obesity in children. Irritability, temperamental nature and lack of concentration are some more problems that parents deal with on a daily basis. Yoga is the answer to all such problems. The growing years thirteen to nineteen, which are considered the most challenging by parents can certainly be handled better if your child practices Yoga. It helps them to deal with the changes in their bodies as well as the changes in the outside environment.
Small four to five rounds of Surya Namaskar can do wonders, Tadasana is extremely beneficial for increasing height. Simple breathing techniques and stretching exercises help to increase flexibility and remove excess fat in children.
Yoga, if started at an early age can become a way of life for children. It ensures a healthy life style for them. It is a natural therapy for many diseases in a world strewn with unnatural food, habits and magnanimous technology. It is empowering and if we lead the way, our children are sure to reap the benefits for a lifetime!
Rendezvous with a Yogi
With his maxim, “Itihas se yog bana, yog se itihas banayenge”, Pankaj Kumar from Paldoa in Himachal aims to take Yoga to altogether new heights in the state. A gold medallist in History Hons., Pankaj Kumar is a history teacher by profession who enrolled in a diploma course in Yoga as he pursued MPhil in History from Himachal Pradesh University. By the time he finished diploma, his interest in it had increased manifold and he decided to pursue his career in the same field.
Yoga soon turned out to be a passion with Pankaj opting for camps all over the state. Wherever he went, the aim was to spread awareness about the ancient art and the health benefits it offers. The first camp saw a total strength of about eighty which included 73 students and 7 teachers. There after the strength has been increasing with every new camp with as many as two hundred people learning Yoga from this master in a single day.
In the year 2016, Pankaj participated in the HP state Open Yoga Championship and secured fourth position. He continued to present his views in various seminars. He then got an opportunity to participate in the Third National workshop on Yoga and Alternative Therapies at Gurukul Kangri University where he learnt twelve new therapies and added to his vast store of knowledge.
In the same year a month long programme on Yoga was organised by the HP Government at various places to commemorate the International Yoga Day. Pankaj was engaged in organising camps for an entire month at Modern Nursing College, Annadale; Ghea Vikas Khand, Mashobra; Govt High School, Krishna Nagar. He even participated in the Yoga Run on 18 June, 2016 and in a demonstration by the Yoga Department, Nehru Yuva Kendra, HPU where he was given a citation and honoured for his consistent efforts in promoting Yoga.
Among a host of events that have been organised in the past one year on Yoga in the state, Pankaj has lent his expertise to almost all. From the Arogya Mela to a National Awareness Programme on Yoga and Diabetes to being featured in the HPU Annual calendar and performing on Doordarshan as well as in the various International Yoga Festivals at Delhi and Chandigarh, he has worked consistently to help Yoga reach out to the common people. He further aims to spread this ancient Indian practice to all parts of the state, particularly help it reach out to students and children.