Definition of Yoga in Bhagavad Gita:
i)Yoga Karmasu Kaushalam: Yoga is skill in action.
ii)Samatvam Yoga Uchyate: Yoga is equanimity.
Definition of Yoga in Patanjali Yoga Sutras
Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha: Yoga is the control of mental processes.
Sanskrit Meaning of Yoga
Yoga derives from the sanskrit root yuj meaning “to yoke”(to attach or to couple), thus yoga means “union”(between body, mind and spirit)
So what is Yoga? It’s a philosophy teaching -the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.
WHY YOGA IS IMPORTANT IN CHILDREN’S DAY TO DAY LIFE
Well yoga just does not mean physical postures and asanas, in fact it’s termed as ashtanga yoga, which means eight limbs of yoga.(Asta:Eight, Anga: Limbs or body parts).They are yama(moral conduct), niyama(personal disciplines), asana(physical postures), pranayama(breath control), pratyahara(sense withdrawal)dharana(concentration on single object), dhyana(steady meditation) and Samadhi(complete absorption in the object of meditation).
In Asanas one plays with their own body where the object of meditation is not any idol or murthy, but it’s one’s own body and breath. Body, Mind and Breath are brought on a single plane which gives stillness, thoughtlessness and eventually bliss. That’s the main idea of asanas. However there is a vast science on what benefits each asana can provide.
Pranayama: Prana means vital energy and ayama means expansion. Pranayama means expansion of vital energy in one’s body. They are breathing techniques important for supplying fresh oxygen and strengthening of lungs and other organs of the body.
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The brain is divided into two cerebral hemispheres. Each hemisphere appears to have a separate and quite different function. The right hemisphere is associated with the intuitive and spatial aspects of our being, while the left is associated with the analytical and linear capacities.
Up To now education focused on the left hemisphere giving importance to linear, scientific and purely logical disciplines such as reading, writing and arithmetic. The artistic, intuitive and less quantitative subjects, such as art, dance and other creative activities, have received negligible support. This partial education is now leading to deleterious effects in our lives.
In yogic terminology, the unification of the two sides of the brain is called the awakening of Sushumna Nadi, the pranic channel which runs down the spinal cord. Basing their research of already established science of yoga, many scientists are finding explanations for their experimental evidence already existing in ancient yoga shastras.
The developed intuition(by yoga) helps in learning the logical side also. School subjects can then be better understood when examined from the viewpoint of the visualizing mind.This theory has been demonstrated by the alternative Magnet Arts Elementary School in Eugene, Oregon USA, where reading and writing skills are taught via playwriting and acting.
Emotional Behaviour/Aspects: In yogic terminology , emotional disturbance is the result of imbalance between manas shakti(mental energy) and prana shakti(the vital energy component). Where there is excess mental energy and lack of prana children suffer withdrawal, depression, anxiety and lethargy. Where children have excess prana and not enough manas, they become very destructive and disruptive. A vast amount of energy with no control spells disaster.It is comparable with a fast moving vehicle without brakes. Yoga automatically brings sobriety and inner balance and purity which cannot be solely imparted by speeches. The practices have to be performed.
Need for physical Education: Why should children practise yoga and not some other physical exercise like gymnastics? Yoga can be performed by even the physically disabled without being set apart as different. Yoga provides physical stamina, emotional stability and intellectual and creative talents.
Circulation of the pranas is very important, not only for physical activities, but also for mental activities. In scientific investigations, it has been shown that in pranayama the brain emits special electrical energies. It has been noted that during yoga nidra “alpha waves” are predominant and during normal sleep “delta waves” are predominant.
How do we present yoga to children who are just not adults? Answer: It’s through games and play. Play involves children actively rather than passively. Play and games are very old widespread form of learning.Plentiful research is done on “play”. It is used as a form of emotional and behavioural therapy, a way to learn social skills. Play reduces the stress of anticipating success and failure. But play and games should be presented according to the age of children. As the child grows older and enters school, the presentation of yoga can take on more structured form as do other class activities.
Immune System: Yogic practices like surya namaskar and nadi shodhana pranayama ensure continual development of immune system.
The main idea of introducing yoga with children and into school curriculum is we train children to become professional teachers, doctors, engineers technicians etc, but above all this there is one common thing in all the professions: “Sense of Sanity” We need to develop are children to become something more than a professional!