June 27, 2013
Yoga Bharati is conducting an observational study to understand and establish the importance of yoga practice amongst children in improving fitness, focus and attention. The study is being conducted as a part of the President’s fitness challenge.
The President’s Challenge is a program introduced by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and it is “for people who want to make physical activity and healthy eating part of their everyday lives”. The Council recently announced PALA (Presidential Active Lifestyle Award) to promote physical activity and good nutrition. This is a 6-week program to put the participants on the path of health. Yoga has been identified as one of the recommended activities under the 6-week program.
The purpose of the workshop and study is to show that regular practice of yoga in healthy children helps improve the fitness parameters as stated on the President’s Fitness Challenge.
Yoga Bharati approached this challenge by announcing yoga workshops for children. More than 130 students between the ages 7 to 12 years are participating in free yoga classes in 8 centers. Yoga Bharati is offering close to $10,000 worth of free classes this summer in implementing President’s challenge. Children are attending yoga classes at least 3 times a week. On the other 2 days, they follow the guidelines of the Presidents Challenge for youth and practice yoga and other physical activity for 60 minutes a day making it a total of 5 days a week. Kids follow 3 weeks of guided yoga practice followed by a home practice schedule to continue with President’s challenge protocol for 3 more weeks. Fitness assessments are being done before the practice, after 3 weeks and after 6 weeks. The students are required to maintain a daily log of their activities and diet.
Yoga workshops are conducted and coordinated by the youth aged 14-21, who are yoga teachers of Yoga Bharati. These youth are responsible for teaching yoga, gathering the assessment parameters and following up with the participants to maintain a daily log that will provide data points for compliance with study parameters. The youth will synthesize and present the data analysis report at the end of the summer. This is a unique opportunity for youth volunteers for building leadership skills and it will also give them valuable experience. For younger kids, the youth act as a role model in developing health awareness.
“Yoga is fun” says Nisha whereas Josh says he loves Sun Salutations. Rakesh says “He likes yogic games”. The kids are enjoying summer with yoga!
Yoga Bharati hopes the summer workshops help in raising the awareness of yoga for children in the community.