Thursday, June 18, 2015

Yoga not Needed in Education and Social Welfare ?

Karnataka Minister for Primary and Secondary Education says that he is healthy without doing Yoga and schools have no problem not practicing Yoga and hence doing Yoga need not be mandatory in schools. Social Welfare Minister of Karnataka State says that Yoga is for the rich and the lazy as they lead sedentary life and is not needed for the labourers working in farms as they indulge in lots of physical activities as a routine, and even in schools the students should be encouraged to do sports and not Yoga. Both the Ministers, obviously go by the popular misconception on Yoga as a health and fitness exercise, a misconception often contributed, among others, by the public posturing of many Yoga practitioner themselves.

Yoga is not a health and physical fitness exercise alone. In fact, the physical exercises, the asanas  and pranayamas, physical postures and breathing exercises, are only two of the eight 'limbs' of Yoga, although many present day practitioners have taken only two or three 'limbs' and call it Yoga. What is worse, there are national and international sports event that are called Yoga competition which is actually competition only in bodily postures, yogasanas, and not Yoga proper.

The Yoga proper involves External and Internal Purity/yama niyama, Bodily Postures/asanas, Breathing Exercises/pranayama, Elimination of Distractions/pratyahara, Focusing/dharana, Meditation/dhyana, and Tuning In/samadhi. Yoga acts on body, mind, intellect and spirit. Its purpose is to raise our Consciousness to the higher reaches of human potential and experience oneness with all the beings-living and nonliving- that exist. If we do not practice Yoga in its entirety, practice it as only physical exercise, although undoubtedly we derive lots of benefit in health and fitness, we miss the enhancement of Consciousness and realisation of full human potential.

Karnataka Minister for Primary and Secondary Education has missed out on these vital dimensions of Yoga when he says that there is no problem in schools by not doing Yoga; the real purpose of education is to help realise and achieve full potential of the pupils about which present day education is doing nothing. Similarly, the Minister for Social Welfare must see that realisation of human potential contributes immensely to the development of sociocultural upliftment and enrichment of our people. I hope both the Ministers shed their misconception soon on Yoga as only for physical fitness and health.

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