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School kids and teacher meditating during yoga class in basketball court at school gym

Yoga compulsory: yay or nay?

As the world prepares to celebrate
International Yoga Day on June 21,
NT BUZZ asked a few people
about their take on the proposal of
yoga being made compulsory
in schools and colleges in
India through the Ministry of AYUSH

NT BUZZ

Yoga is practiced in various forms around the world today and continues to grow in popularity. In fact, recognising its universal appeal, the United Nations on December 11, 2014 declared June 21 as International Yoga Day. Those who practise yoga say that it is beneficial for both, physical health as well as helps maintain mental stability, which in turn improves the quality of life.

Not long ago, Union Minister of AYUSH, Shripad Naik submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Human Resource Development about the inclusion of yoga as a compulsory subject under the curriculum of physical education in schools and colleges across the country from the next academic year. But should it be compulsory?

Here’s what a few people have to say:

Choices should be respected

“I personally practice yoga. But I don’t think it should be made compulsory as not all are interested in it. While a fitness activity is important, this could be in any form. While yoga has its own benefits, it can be practiced individually. Yoga should be practiced in schools and colleges only on certain occasions along with other activities.”

Nikita Chodankar, assistant professor,
Don Bosco College, Panaji

Important for a healthy generation

“Reclaiming the wisdom that belongs to India and spreading its practice among its people first, is definitely a move in a very progressive direction. Yoga was a common practice in every household of India, until the foreign invasion on the country led to loss and disconnection of this ancient knowledge with the common people. Yoga is a unique practise that has no limitations in terms of age or gender, and is meant for everyone.

Although yoga asanas have taken the western fitness world by storm, India still retains the knowledge that physical fitness is only a by-product of the practice, and asana is only one aspect of this eightfold practise. Stillness of the mind and heightened consciousness of the true self and thus the environment and universe around us are the true gifts of yoga.

Higher consciousness pervading into the education system will result in conscious, sensitive individuals for our future societies who are free of mental and physical imbalances. A healthy generation with a clear sense of purpose and focus will result in a healthy society and a healthy country.”

Geetanjali Lobo, Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Parra

It has nothing to do with religion

“Yoga has helped me a lot as I am a dancer. It is not correct when people look at yoga from religious perspective. The benefits are numerous. It helps you realise the importance of the elements that nurture you without any side effects. Unlike in some other forms, like for instance going to the gym, where you put on weight after stopping it, this doesn’t happen in yoga. If people are ready to pay high stakes for something that has side effects why say no to yoga that will be imparted for free?”

Akhil Sawant, graduate, Ponda

Shouldn’t be forced on people

“While yoga and meditation are proven to be effective ways to keep the body and mind healthy, I believe that no such policy/initiative should be forced upon people, especially when it’s part of a broad agenda by a particular political outfit. That the present dispensation thinks it’s recently won mandate is to promote such policies belies the fact that it represents a multi-cultural and multi-faceted society, wherein the choices and decisions that citizens make must be respected and not infringed upon.

The way a person lives and behaves must never be dictated by others, not least the government. In fact, we should celebrate this diversity and accept that people can and should be allowed to live life the way they deem best, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon anyone else’s. Or to be concise, live and let live.”

Sainandan Iyer, international intern,
Ministry of Education- Chile, Taleigao

It benefits the young

“We have very little say in what is taught in schools anyway. More often, a lot of content that’s included in the syllabus appears irrelevant and useless for practical purposes. Yoga, on the other hand, is an ancient Indian science of well being, which although the world embraces, continues to remain in India as an exercise for the elites. This notion has to change and more people of the subcontinent it originated from ought to benefit from it.

Rohan Govenkar, entrepreneur, Panaji

Important to de-stress

“I think it is a good idea to have yoga as part of the curriculum in schools and colleges. Unlike before, the pressure of studies and other activities increases, we tend to miss out on relaxation. Stress also decreases our attention span. Thus, yoga will help us be at ease and help us in pro-actively learning.”

Winifred Norris, student, Porvorim

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