Under the tutelage of Swami Niranjanananda, the Bihar School of Yoga, based in Munger, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, strives to create a new generation of yoga exponents—and the success shows
YOGA AND CHILDREN? NO KIDDING!In the winter of 1995 Swami Niranjanananda met parents of five children at BSY. The aim was to provide comprehensive yogic education to the next generation. The result was the Bal Yoga Mitra Mandalan informal organization that would propagate the message of yoga through children to other children. After rigorous training at BSY, these five children contacted 25 schools in and around Munger for initiating yoga classes.
The ball started rolling in earnest after 50 children from these schools were trained as promoters or pracharaks at BSY over a fortnight and were sent back to their respective schools to teach their co-students. The BYMM has now spread its wings from Bihar to other parts of IndiaMadhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and even Delhi. What once started with five has now a membership of a massive 27,000.
Like any big organization, BYMM also has a well-established three-tier structure. These tiers are: pracharak (popularizer), pradarshak (teacher or guide) and anudeshak (advisor). Like BSY, it has a proper governing body of seven, with a president, a secretary, a director and board members. Every seminal decision is taken after a board meeting. All board members, save Vikas Kumar, the BYMM director, are children.
Initially, the children are trained in yoga in their respective schools. Then a select few are trained at BSY as teachers. These teachers return to their schools and begin classes on yoga. And the pyramid effect continues.
The BYMM provides a 75 minute daily package for schools. This includes 10 minutes of kirtan, 20 minutes of asana, 10 minutes of pranayama, a 15-minute Yoga Nidra session and 15 minutes of games tailored to hone the children's awareness and reflexes. "The package can be conducted early in the morning and is very compact," states 10-year-old Utkarsh, a senior yoga teacher.
The BYMM experiment has become so successful that it has drafted a proposal endorsing the inclusion of yoga as a compulsory subject at school level under the national Minimum Level of Learning (MLL) program. This policy has been accepted in principle by the National Council of Education and Research Training (NCERT), India.
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