Neha Verma is only seven years old, but she has already learnt several forms of yoga.
Ask her about mayurasana, vrikshasana, chakrasana and she knows them all.
The seven-year-old is not the only one who has learnt the discipline. Ankit Srivastava is only one year elder to little Neha and he has the knowledge of paschimottanasana, mayurasana, dhanurasana among many other yoga forms.
Many kids, some as young as five or six years, have started attending yoga classes. The classes have started gaining popularity, a trend, practitioners say, started about two years ago.
Several schools in Patna have also started organising yoga classes. Tender Hearts International School, for example, organised a camp, which became a hit because of its yoga classes. Students from several schools, including St Joseph’s Convent High School, Carmel High School and Notre Dame Academy, took part in the yoga sessions held in the school. Julie Bhargava, the former head of Jharkhand chapter of Patanjali Yogpeeth, was the mentor of the yoga camp.
Sania Singh, a Class V student of St Joseph’s Convent High School, who attended the yoga classes, said: “All of us are under stress throughout the year. From tuitions to extra curricular activities to homework, the list is never ending. The nine-day yoga session was such a great break.”
Kinjal, Sania’s classmate, was surprised to learn about the number of benefits of yoga. Kinjal said she was surprised to know that yoga has so many advantages. “I was surprised to know that each of the yoga forms have their own importance. The yoga instructor taught us a few asanas, which help increase the height of a person. We were also taught asanas that would help us increase our concentration level,” the girl said.
The teachers emphasised on the stress factor among students.
Shivani Ganguli, a teacher at Radiant International School, said yoga helps children get rid of the stress. “ Children have such a busy schedule these days that they get stressed very easily. After school and tuitions, they hardly get time to chill out. But, if they attend yoga classes, the children can get back their composure,” she said.
The parents are also happy about the prospects of yoga.
“I enrolled my son Ankit into yoga classes around one month ago. My first objective was to make sure that Ankit loses his extra weight. Over the past 30 days, Ankit has lost three kilos, and now weighs 28kg,” Nikita Srivastava, a homemaker, said.
While Srivastava wanted her son to lose the extra kilos, Sangeeta Verma, the mother of Neha, wants her daughter to be mentally and physically fit. “Yoga not only makes one physically fit but also helps one increase the concentration level. I thought if Neha learnt yoga, it would help her concentrate in her studies better,” Verma said.
So, what are the yoga practitioners saying?
“Thirty children come to my yoga classes everyday, while around 150 children attend the classes on alternate days,” Navin Kumar Singh, a 30-year-old yoga practitioner, said, confirming the recent increase in the number of children attending his classes.
“Most of the children attending the (yoga) classes are between five and 14. This is because their parents have became more conscious about their health and fitness,” the expert, who owns Naveen Yogpeeth Motapa Mukti Kendra in Patna City, said.
Vinay Kumar Jha, another practitioner at an institute on Boring Road, said one can start doing yoga from the age of five. “Children have supple bones and flexible body. That is why they can do yoga with ease.”