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Each year, meditation becomes more of a trend.

Celebrities like Jerry Seinfeldand Goldie Hawn,


businessmen like Bill George of Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil, and News Corp
chairman Rupert Murdoch, have publicly discussed practicing it. Techies and others in the
corporate world have begun usingmindfulness, a type of meditation, to combat the stress and
overstimulation of their jobs. Even the Marines have used it to improve mental performance
under the stress and strain from war.
At the same time, more and more studies are showing direct links between meditation and health
benefits. A study led by researchers at John Hopkins found that just eight weeks of meditation
training was as effective as medication in treating depression, anxiety, and pain. At Harvard,
scientists using neuro-imaging technology showed how meditation positively affected the brain
activity of the chronically stressed, a condition that the Benson-Henry Institute reports is related
to more than 60 percent of all doctors visits.
Schools have also begun experimenting with the practice and discovering that its techniques can
help its students. When a school in New Haven, Connecticut, required yoga and meditation
classes three times a week for its incoming freshman, studies found that after each class, students
had significantly reduced levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their bodies. In San Francisco,
schools that participated in Quiet Time, a Transcendental Meditation program, had twice as many
students score proficient in English on the California Achievement Test than in similar schools
where the program didnt exist. Visitacion Valley Middle School specifically reduced
suspensions by 45 percent during the programs first year. Attendance rates climbed to 98
percent, grade point averages improved, and the school recorded the highest happiness levels in
San Francisco on the annual California Healthy Kids Survey. Other studies have shown that
mindfulness education programs improved students self-control, attentiveness and respect for
other classmates, enhanced the school climate, and improved teachers moods.
These results did not surprise me. As a former teacher who now practices meditation myself, Ive
often wondered how I could have used the practice in my own classroom. The stress level of
teaching seemed to bring out my already-existing anxiety in the worst kind of ways. I slept
poorly, unable to stop rehearsing my lessons in my head. I got irritable with loved ones. I felt
obsessed with saving time when there was so much to do and so much to teach to students who I
feared were behind. My students noticed, too. On a survey, one wrote, It seems like youre
really tense; another, You can get easily frustrated with yourself.
Meanwhile, my students seemed just as anxious as I was. My advisory group complained of the
immense pressure of balancing school with their lives at home. Students constantly booked
appointments with the school counselor to talk through their personal struggles with a
professional. A common response from students on their semester reflections was Im
overwhelmed.

Months after leaving the profession (partially due to its stress), I attended a ten-day beginner
meditation retreat. It was the first time I ever attempted to learn the practice. I began to
understand how powerful meditation could be in confronting the anxiety and insecurity my
students felt at school and I felt while teaching, and often throughout most of my life. So when I
discovered that some of my former students had participated in a mindfulness education program
called Headstandin middle school before they became my high-school students, I was eager to
find out its effects.

Physical Education is an important part of school curriculum. The ones epidemic has put
schools in the role of being the only physical outlet for many students. Yoga can be an
important part of an entire program of activity. By increasing flexibility and strength, it
fulfilled a large portion of what is needed for good physical health. And by learning to
breathe and focus, students can learn to calm themselves in times of stress.
Schools should add yoga to the curriculum!

Yoga is extremely beneficial in many different ways. It would be an amazing alternative for
children instead of more popular sports such as baseball or football. Every child is different
and I believe they deserve a choice that is different and healthy in its own way. Yoga is a
very healthy habit for your mind and body.
Yes, as part of physical education.

Yoga is about developing an awareness of the body and of breathing. It is a valid form of
exercise and relaxation and self-discipline. It is not a religion and has crossed so into the
mainstream that there is no reason to oppose it any more than volleyball and swimming and
other exercise.
Yes, as an alternative PE course.

Yoga would be an excellent addition to the PE course curriculum. Students are not all one
type when it comes to physical activity, and not everyone likes to play soccer or run around
a track. When I was in high school I hated PE until one year they offered modern dance and I
realized that I could enjoy physical activity, not dread it. With obesity being the concern that
it is these days, perhaps we should look at a broader spectrum of choices for students to be
active.

Minister for Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani proposed introduction of yoga as a
subject in schools from classes VI to X for central government run school, which found
support from Delhi government on Monday. Inaugurating the first yoga conference
organized by the Central Board of Secondary Education on Monday and releasing the
NCERT prepared syllabus and course material for students, Irani said that schools boards

can work towards opting yoga as a subject with 80 percentage practicals during which
students have to perform various asanas.
Finding support on this initiative is from deputy chief minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia who
was also a guest on the occasion. Sisodia speaking about the need to reduce the load of main
courses and impart life skills to students in government schools said: "Delhi government
will give its full support to this initiative of including yoga in curriculum of students. I am,
as an individual and as a minister, in favour of this policy, regardless of who takes the
initiative."
BHOPAL: A day after the United Nations General Assembly accepted Prime Minister
Narendra Modi's proposal and declared June 21 as International Yoga Day, Madhya
Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday announced yoga would be included
as an integral part of the school curriculum in the state.
As the House assembled for the last day of the winter session, Chouhan said it was a matter
of pride for the country that the PM's proposal had been accepted by the UN in less than 90
days. "The Madhya Pradesh government will soon introduce yoga as part of school
curriculum from the next academic session," he said.
This won't be the first time the government will be initiating the procedure to include yoga
in the curriculum. Since 2007, Madhya Pradesh has been observing Yoga Day in January
wherein schoolchildren, government officials, ministers and the CM publicly participate in a
state-wide pranayam and surya namaskar exercise. The government even formulated a yoga
policy and announced the inclusion of yoga in the school curriculum. The policy included
the setting up of a yoga council, training of yoga instructors for schools, state-sponsored
yoga programmes and a Rs 1 lakh prize for the effective promotion of yoga.
However, the government had had to backtrack on its decision each time since the
announcements drew flak from Muslim and Christian communities, which contended the
ruling BJP was promoting its saffron agenda and advancing Hindu rituals in educational
institutions.
On Friday, Chouhan did not specify if yoga would be taught in government-run schools or
private academic institutions.
Yoga literally means "addition" and it refers to the coming together of the physical, mental
and spiritual parts of the body, and is thus believed to increase concentration, decrease
bodily pains and provide mental peace to the humans. The practice has ancient roots in
India and is now popularly recognized in the entire world as an art of living. The United
Nations General assembly, passing the India's proposal, has declared summer solstice, June
21 as the International Yoga Day. This has been a great achievement for India as this will
promote our culture in the entire world. But while trying to promote the practice, the BJP

government seems to overplay it.


Haryana had recently made Yoga compulsory for all the school children and now there are
talks that the government might make it compulsory in the entire nation. Yoga is a peaceful
art and only those who really want to do it can perform it with peace. Making it mandatory
will do no good. Rather it will diminish the sacred identity this art carries with it. The idea
should definitely be promoted but forcing the people to perform it for 10 or 20 minutes will
be just a waste of time for the reluctant people. Also, the way the government is promoting
this not go along with core ideology of Yoga. It is not something which should be promoted
by doing so much of propaganda. Rather, the idea should be slowly allowed to sink in the
minds of all the people. Only when the people realize its true value, they will connect with it,
not by making it compulsory for the children or for the employees. The more appropriate
way to promote it will be to start opening new yoga centers or integrating yoga with various
sports clubs in the country. The government should make arrangements to provide more
facilities and trainers to promote the practice.
BHUBANESWAR: All Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated schools in
the city and students appreciate the move by the Centre to introduce yoga in the curriculum
from this academic session. However, most schools said, they have been practicing yoga as
part of their physical education.
"No doubt yoga in school curriculum is a welcome step. We have been practicing yoga in our
school once every week during the mass Physical Education Training (PET) session.
However, yoga was very much a part of Kendriya Vidyalayas, but became a dying cadre due
to lack of appointment and shortage of trained teachers," said principal of Kendriya
Vidyalaya-1, S K Behura.
A day after the whole world celebrated International Yoga Day, union human resource
development minister Smriti Irani announced yoga as a part of course curriculum in
central-government run schools for class VI to X. It would be soon made compulsory in
CBSE affiliated and state-run schools.
State school and mass education secretary Usha Padhee said, "We have yoga already in our
health and physical education, which is incorporated in the school activities."
Some fitness freak students are quite happy with the decision. Srima Sarajit, a class X
students of SAI International School is overjoyed her pleasure regarding compulsory yoga
class every day in the school. "Due to shortage of time earlier I was unable to do yoga every
day. It's good that we will do it in school every day. Yoga is very important for keeping one
fit both physically and mentally," she said.
Bikram Ray, a student of DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur said, "We have been doing
yoga every day in school and have two yoga teachers, who also help in relieving our stress."
"A lot of stress happened due to class study, homework, project work, tuition and
preparation for career exam. The only solution for relax, peace and overcome the stress is by

yoga and meditation," said Tushar kanti Panda, another student.


Chairman of SAI International School B K Sahoo said, "I am really happy that yoga is made
a compulsory subject. Yoga is a disciplined method to achieve a goal, a technique to control
the body and the mind, and I reiterate its importance in today's highly stressful life."

As they whisper to each other on the couch, the squat professor in white with
the carefully arranged curls and the hirsute, wiry yogi in saffron, the
temptation is too much. So whose idea was the United Nations International
Day of Yoga, we ask. "Hum sab ka," snaps Baba Ramdev, unhappy at being
interrupted in his hushed conversation with H.R. Nagendra, who has been
holding his hand admiringly for the past 15 minutes. Both are at the India
Today Body Rocks event in Delhi, a day before Prime Minister Narendra
Modi led a crowd of 35,985 by example, performing most of the 21 asanas,
and stamping his authority over a 7,000-year-old tradition, transforming
Rajpath in Delhi into Yogpath.
"Yoga main ahankar nahi hai, main nahin hai," adds Baba Ramdev, whose
propensity to strip his saffron wrap from his torso and fold his dhoti ever
upwards as the asanas get more complicated is as gravity-defying as the
contortions his body is capable of.
Nagendra, whose scientific credentials (a doctorate in mechanical
engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and a post doctorate
at NASA) are impressive and whom the Prime Minister first consulted in the
1980s when he was a pracharak, is now chairman of the yoga task force set
up by the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and
Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
He and his fellow members have to present a report by September end on
what happens after the massive photo op of June 21. This report will provide
the blueprint of how yoga is to be taught in schools, in what could be a great
opportunity to generate future jobs as well as create a whole new way of life.
It will require inter-ministerial coordination. Will yoga be part of the physical
training curriculum for schools-this is a matter for the Ministry of Human
Resource Development (HRD).
The HRD, home affairs and defence ministries have to decide whether yoga
should be introduced into the training of army and paramilitary forces. There
is also a proposal to involve voluntary organisations in creating a network of
yoga centres-this, according to Union Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad

Yasso Naik, will reduce the cost, given the ministry budget is a paltry Rs 1,214

crore.
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani has already put into the public domain the
yoga syllabus and course material for classes VI to X prepared by NCERT and
yoga training modules for teacher education programmes at the level of
diploma, BEd or MEd degrees prepared by the National Council for Teacher
Education. But will the International Day of Yoga, with its Teutonic-style
precision and its Soviet-style love for gigantism, create more than just a
coordinated pawanmuktasana (asanawhich releases a particular kind of hot
air)? A previous attempt at cultural transformation-the Prime Minister's
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, launched as an ambitious programme, is yet to take
off. Reports suggest that the Prime Minister's Office may well restrict it to
building of toilets.
Yoga has been sustained by the free market, having become the physical
exercise of choice of over 20 million Americans and a $27-billion global
industry led by stars such as Sting, Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna. In India,
there are as many schools of yoga as there are gurus. There is a clear
divergence of views on regulation-while Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of
Living, whose volunteers were enlisted by the government to make
International Day of Yoga a success, believes there needs to be quality
control, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Foundation believes market forces
should prevail.
Movements when prodded by the government have rarely succeeded in
India. Cable television, IT, even the telecom revolution owed little to the
government, except the minor courtesy that it did by keeping out of the way
of private practitioners. Will market forces be enough to fill the need for one
million yoga teachers, the number India is estimated to require? It's not that
India has not seen this push before-Dhirendra Brahmachari had a regular slot
for yoga during the '70s, a time when the discipline was made mandatory in
Delhi government schools. Neither survived for long. In the West, its
popularity as a physical exercise owes little to any government.
The proposal for International Day of Yoga is not new, neither is the Ministry
of AYUSH. Yoga Day was first mooted in 2001 by the Portuguese Yoga
Confederation and reiterated in 2011 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at a wellattended Art of Living conference in Bengaluru. The Department of Indian
Medicine and Homoeopathy was created in March 1995 and renamed the
department of AYUSH in November 2003. Modi's genius lies in seizing the
moment, and in divesting yoga of its Hindu connotations-both the chanting
of Om and the performing ofSurya Namaskar, showing that he is not tone

deaf to the cries of minorities. The fact that all the top yoga schools including
The Art of Living came together and sat in New Delhi to come up with a
common 35-minute protocol for Yoga Day is also, as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
points out, "in itself a big achievement'', like a "giant has suddenly woken
up".
David Frawley, director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, believes
India has much to contribute to the most popular form of yoga practised in
the West-asana yoga-by setting global standards. Shripad Naik, Modi's choice
for this state-sponsored campaign, says International Day of Yoga is just a
start. "We want to take yoga to the remotest village and to do that, we need
to create dedicated infrastructure, facilities and do research," he says. Sri Sri
Ravi Shankar believes any discipline can flourish only with rajashraya (state
patronage): "The government has owned its ancient heritage for the first
time. It needs to nurture it further."
But India invariably has a problem in following through its grand plans with
equally grand results. Will the government force the nation to do
a shirshasana or go into shavasanamode? We're holding our breath.

Too often, learning in Chelsea A. Jacksons classroom was a struggle with cheerless
chaos. Her 3rd graders at the Title I school in Atlanta struggled to pay attention, and
bickering, fussing and general behavior problems frequently interrupted lessons.
School-wide, it seemed classroom creativity was frowned upon, teachers felt
defeated, and pressure to improve standardized test scores was squeezing the life
out of students and teachers. So Jackson took a chance. Personally, she had been
turning to yoga to help manage stress, and had found that the practice improved
her fitness, attitude and self-confidence. Why couldnt her students benefit in
similar ways? She covered her classroom window with construction paper to reduce
distractions. She showed her students how to focus on their breathing. She
demonstrated a few simple poses. Jackson says the effects were better than she
had hoped in the weeks that followed. Student attention spans increased. They
were resolving their own conflicts. Lessons went more smoothly. She describes how,
before standardized testing, her students would request a few minutes for breath.
And it apparently paid off though she did not teach to the test, she says her
students scores were among the schools highest. Classroom management has
always been a challenge for most teachers. But what if student concentration could
be augmented with several calming breaths and a chance to stretch deskcramped
young bodies? That is the question a growing number of schools are exploring by
introducing yoga classes and practices into their buildings. And a limitedbut
growingbody of research indicates yoga for kids may Teaching Tolerance28 be

an effective strategy for proactively managing classroom behavior and efficiently


boosting student learning and performance. An Ancient Practice Yogas history
stretches back thousands of years, and its practice has roots in Hindu, Jain and
Buddhist religious practices in India and East Asia. It has been described as a
discipline for focusing and connecting mind, body and spirit, and has found
adoptees among other religions as well as the non-religious. A secularized form that
emphasizes fitness and stress-reduction is now well established in Western
countries, and one can find a proliferation of yoga studios in most American cities.
Studies prove yoga as a regular practice can help lower blood pressure, reduce
heart disease, improve strength and balance, and deal with depression and other
maladies of mental health. Jackson is now pursuing her doctorate in education at
Emory University, studying yoga integration in the classroom. She and other
advocates of yoga for kids point to learning specific benefits, including: k fewer
fights and arguments among students; k better student decision-making; k
increased self-awareness and self-esteem; k improved concentration and retention;
and k more efficient use of class time. In other words, yoga offers a potential means
to address a wide range of challenges in the classroom. That has been the
experience of Susan Solvang, executive director of K12 Yoga in Milwaukee. Two
years ago, the organization began a pilot program in Cass Street School, bringing in
lead and assistant instructors to conduct two classes a week with more than 350 K
8 students. The instructors taught mindful breathing and basic poses, but also
modeled calm, respectful behavior. Students started to be mindful, Solvang says.
They checked how loud they were speaking or if their tones were harsh in talking
to another student. We saw students changing reactive behavior to creative
solutions. After the first year, the results at Cass Street School were tabulated.
Using the U.S. Department of Educations Positive Behavioral Interventions and
Supports, the team calculated disruptive incidents. In the year before the yoga
program was introduced, there had been 225 classroom disruptions, 320 disorderly
conducts and 150 fights. During the pilot program in 20102011, these metrics were
all cut by more than half: 110 classroom disruptions, 40 disorderly conducts and 52
fights. While broad-based evidence of yogas potential benefits for students awaits
research on a larger scale, limited studies and anecdotal evidence continue to
convince educators to give it a chance. And the relatively low cost can often be
covered through grants or professional development budgets. Overcoming
Objections However, school-based yoga is still met by resistance from some parents
who believe its roots in Eastern religions mean it should have no place in public
schools. Some devout Christians fear it could lead young minds toward other
religious beliefs or mysticism. A few districts have banned yoga, as well as
visualization practices or meditation instruction. In some instances, instructors can
address concerns by a yoga demonstration sans yogic nomenclature. (One program
has removed all yoga references from its Power Moves Kids Program for Public
Schools.) But if families remain uncomfortable with the practice, they can have
their kids sit out the program. Still, people like Tara Guber, a yoga instructor with
more than 25 years of experience, make it their mission to bring legitimacy to yoga

in the classroom. In 2002, Guber set out to create a model in-school program,
offering yoga three times a week at the Accelerated School in Los Angeles.
According to Guber, teachers found that the best time to give an exam was
immediately following yoga class, since sessions resulted in calm, relaxedbut
focusedstudents. Is yoga in the classroom worth the effort? Guber argues that a
yoga practiceeven once a weekhelps students feel safe, show greater
acceptance of others differences and demonstrate better conflict management
among themselves. All that adds up to more time and energy for teaching and
learning.