Amrita Yoga Summer Workshops were conducted at Amrita Vidyalayam schools in India. These schools provide a value based education along with tools and techniques of holistic living for the children. Brahmacharini Shobha, from Mata Amritanandamayi Math, and Gunavati, a renunciate from Finland, conducted these summer programs.
The body and mind are interconnected and interdependent instruments. A healthy mind and body are vital for holistic living. To ensure the wellbeing of both, the ancient Indian rishis divined the practices of yoga and meditation. Amma is imparting the riches of this ancient wisdom to modern society through Amrita Yoga.
The emphasis this year was to instill Amma’s message Education for Life and Education for Living in the minds of the young children. The playful interaction of teachers with students made it interesting. Real life stories were shared with the children.In addition, they were taught yogasanas to develop focus and energy.
Besides being fun and providing a challenge, Amrita Yoga helps them in many other ways. Foremost, yogasanas keep the growing body healthy and flexible. Potential health problems will be averted. It is a tremendous advantage for children at this age to learn how to concentrate and balance their emotions.This core foundation of confidence and enthusiasm introduces them to ancient Indian cultural values. Anyone watching can only be enthralled to see the sparkling eyes and bubbling joy. The instructor now and then checks in with the children:
“Are you tired?”“No!”
“Not yet?”“Not yet!”
“Are you sure?”“Yes!Yes! Yes!”
Such is the atmosphere, filled with vibrant, pure, and innocent energy, from the beginning of the session to the end. It is a most healing sight to see laughing children jumping with joy and rolling on the floor. Even older children get playful, and it’s good for them too. They shouldn’t forget how to play. Nobody should forget how to play!
The teens demonstrated strength, curiosity and willingness to showcase their talents and skills. In every class we present several fun and partner asanas, and a few challenging classical asanas for inspiration and entertainment.
Each session would start with an introductory talk depending on the children’s age, to facilitate interaction amongst them. We strive to make it interesting and also offer them something to think about. Sometimes westerners accompany us to talk about their countries and how and why they came to India and Amma. This reminds the children of the greatness of Indian culture and the unique opportunity they have in studying at Amrita Vidyalayam.
We were surprised by the receptivity of Mumbai 12th grade students. The talk was about managing emotions, and after that there was some yogasana. They listened very attentively and even asked for another session! It was surprising and very touching to see big city children, almost grown up, show so much interest and sincerity.
Throughout the workshops, the students were prompted to think of the higher purpose of life, and to focus on achieving a goal – like the importance of being unique; finding the path of inner joy; and striving for the betterment of society. The students were encouraged to respect and acknowledge their feelings, and to stay inspired by focusing on their strengths and managing their emotions. They were warned not to be disheartened by the small or even large hurdles that would inevitably come their way. Their reflective minds and pure hearts will take them to their highest goal.