The National Council of Educational Research and Training on the eve of International Yoga Day to be observed on 21 June, has developed textual material on Yogic activities for students of Upper primary and secondary stages. This textual material is meant for the students of secondary stage (Classes IX and X). It includes various yogic activities to be performed by the students of these classes. These activities are an integral part of the syllabi of Health and Physical Education brought out by the NCERT. Formal introduction of yogic activities are from Class VI however, yogic activities in an informal way can be included at the primary stage. In this textual material, practices of asanas, pranayama, kriyas and meditation have also been included.
The main emphasis of development of these units for secondary stages are on developing personality and managing stress among adolescent children through yogic activities. Developing physical fitness, emotional stability, concentration and mental development of students have also been considered while developing this material.
There are three Units in this material. Unit 1 is an introductory unit, explains in brief the origin and history of Yoga and the general guidelines for doing yogic activities. It also includes specific guidelines related to yogic practices (asanas, pranayamas, kriyas and meditation, etc.) Unit 2 is for students of Class IX and Unit 3 is for students of Class X. In these two units, a brief description of each yogic practices followed by a description of steps or stages for practice have been included. Variation in techniques of yogic practices may exist. In this material, techniques which are commonly used are given. The benefit of doing these yogic activities has been mentioned. Some important do’s and don’ts including limitations which have to be kept in view while practicing these yogic practices have also been given.
A special feature of this material is that it is profusely illustrated so that teachers can learn the asanas listed in the syllabus after some initial training in Yogasanas. Illustrations made the material more attractive and user friendly. The material was developed by a team. We are deeply indebted to them for their invaluable help in preparing this material. It is hoped that student and teacher will find it useful. Comments and suggestions are welcomed to enable us to undertake further revision and refinement.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) takes the pride of contributing through this book entitled Yoga: A Healthy Way of Living meant for school children while celebrating international Yoga Day on 21 June. Yoga is an integral part of ‘Health and Physical Education’ which is a compulsory subject up to secondary stage. This curricular area adopts a holistic definition of health within which Physical Education and Yoga contribute to the Physical, social, emotional and mental development of a child. Yoga has been considered to be introduced from Class VI onwards, though yogic activities may begin in an informal way from primary level onwards. The present book is meant for secondary stage.
This book includes three Units. Unit 1 is an Introductory Unit, explains in brief the origin and history of yoga and the general guidelines for doing yogic activities. The emphasis of other two units is on personality development and managing stress among adolescent children through yogic practices and adopting other yogic principles. Developing physical fitness, emotional stability, concentration and mental development of students through yoga have also been given due emphasis in.
The book is more practice oriented aligning with the syllabi of yoga and holistically dealing with ‘Health and Physical Education’. Each unit gives a brief description of Asanas, Pranayamas, Kriyas and Meditation followed by the successive actions or steps of these yogic practices. The material is explained in simple language and also profusely illustrative so that the students can learn and practice it even at home. The material can also be used by others who wish to learn some common and important yogic practices for healthy living.
Yoga is a healthy way of life, originated in India. Now it is believed to be a form of science accepted all over the world. The western culture also is accepting it as a healthy form of scientific exercise. Although the origin of yoga is obscure, it has a long tradition. In course of time, various schools of Yoga developed. The major schools of yoga are Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga. These schools of Yoga advocate particular type of methodology which includes a variety of systematized practices of yoga depending on their particular approach. However, all these are leading to the common goal of self-realisation and integration of body and mind.
Yoga for a common person contains the practices of yama, niyama, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, kriya, mudra, bandha and alert and emotionally balanced. This ultimately prepares ground for the spiritual development of an individual.
The main emphasis of the present yoga curriculum for school going children is to develop their physical fitness, mental development and emotional stability rather than on the spiritual aspect of yoga.
Postures as asanas form an important basis of this curriculum. These have, therefore, been given more weightage. Though, other yogic activities have also been included in the curriculum.
What is Yoga
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit root Yuj which means ‘join’ or ‘unite’. This may be taken as the union of body, mind and soul, and is used in the literature both as an end as well as means. As an end, yoga signifies ‘integration of personality’ at the highest level. As means, yoga includes various practices and techniques which are employed to achieve the development of such integration. These practices and techniques are means in yogic literature and are also referred collectively as ‘Yoga’.
Importance of Yoga
Good Health is the right of every human being. But this right depends on individual, social and environmental factors. Along with social or environmental factors to a larger extent, we can develop a better immune system and a better perception of oneself so that other conditions do not affect us adversely and we can achieve good health.
Health is a positive concept. Positive health does not mean merely freedom from disease, but, it also included a jubilant and energetic feeling of well-being with an amount of general resistance and capacity to easily cultivate immunity against specific offending agents.
There are many modern and indigenous methods and disciplines that can help us to successfully fight with diseases. For example, the system of yoga, naturopathy, Ayurveda, unani, homeopathy and siddha can be quoted among indigenous systems, whereas allopathic system is quoted as the modern and popular medical system. Yoga is one of the most powerful drugless system of treatment. It is having its own concept of wellness which has been scientifically understood and presented by many. Yoga can be adopted as lifestyle for promoting our physical and mental health. Yoga, if introduced at the school level would help to inculcate healthy habits and healthy lifestyle to achieve good health.
The aim of yoga thus, at the school level, is to encourage a positive and healthy lifestyle for physical, mental and emotional health of children. Yoga helps in the development of strength, stamina, endurance and high energy at physical level. It also empowers oneself with increased concentration, calm, peace and contentment at mental level leading to inner or outer harmony.
Yoga- Its History
Yoga has its origin thousands of years ago in India. It has originated from a universal desire towards attaining happiness and getting rid of suffering. According to yogic lore, Shiva is considered as the founder of Yoga. A number of seals and fossil remains of Indus Valley Civilisation, dating back to 2700 BC indicates that yoga was prevalent in ancient India. However, systematic reference of yoga is found in Patanjali’s Yagadarshna. Maharishi Patanjali systematized the yogic practices. After Patanjali, many sages and yogis contributed to its development and as a result, yoga has now spread all over the World. In this sequence, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with 193 members approved the proposal to celebrate ‘June 21’ as the ‘International Yoga Day’.
Objectives of Yogic Practices
1. To develop a understanding of yogic practices and apply this understanding accordingly in one’s life and living.
2. To develop a healthy habit and lifestyle in children.
3. To develop humane values in children.
4. To develop physical, emotional and mental health through yogic activities.
General Guidelines for Yogic Practices
Yoga may be introduced from the primary level onwards in informal ways, but formal introduction of yogic exercises should begin only from Class VI. The Yoga curriculum must address itself to the children and there should be some hints to them to take up a study of this subject on their own in addition to what is being taught in the class. Yogic activities can be done by all children including children with special needs. However, children with special needs should perform these activities in consultation with yoga experts/yoga teacher as per their capacity.
1. The yogic practices should start with a quiet mood which could be attained by reciting a short prayer.
2. It is essential that body should be prepared by activities such as ankle bending, knee building, finger movements, hand clenching, wrist bending, wrist rotation, elbow bending, shoulder rotation and eye movement. After this, Surya Namaskara can be practiced.
3. Regularity of practice is essential both in the physical and mental aspects of yoga.
4. Patience is an important requirement for yoga. Do not despair if you do not succeed today in doing a certain asana or in following a right principle of conduct. Perseverance in your efforts is needed. Success will come with time.
5. Do not compete but cooperate. A spirit of competition is a definite hindrance on the path of yoga. Competitions feed our ego while yoga helps us to rise above our ego.
6. Yogic practices should be learnt under the guidance of experienced teacher.
7. Some yogic practices should be practiced on an empty or on a very light stomach.
8. Early morning is the ideal time for yoga practice but it can also be practiced in the evening.
9. Yoga should not be practiced in hurry or when you are exhausted.
10. Select a well-ventilated, clean and non-disturbing place for your practices.
11. Yogic practices should not be preformed on hard surface. A durry, a mat or a blanket can be used for this purpose.
12. Bathing before the practices is good. Use cold and warm water as per the requirement of the individual and season.
13. Clothes should be loose and comfortable while performing the yogic practices.
14. Breathing should be as normal/natural as possible. It is not to be manipulated unless instructed specifically to do so.
15. There are limitations of yogic practices. If you are suffering from any problem or chronic disease, inform your teacher before starting yogic practices.
16. Yogic practices should be adopted on the basis of the principle of progress. At initial stages, easy practices should be adopted. Later on more difficult ones can be practiced. Therefore, start with simple yogic practices an gradually proceed to do advance practices.
17. Yogic practices should not be combined with other physical activities in same session. These are two different types of activities and could be separately practiced.
18. Yogic practices can be carried on at home once they are properly learnt in the school.
19. Yoga has a broader meaning. Therefore, apart from asana and pranayama, one should practice moral and ethical values in life.
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