Gone are the days when meditation and yoga were the business of the elderly.
Today, many schools and colleges are organizing optional yoga and meditation classes for children to cope up with increasing stress.
And the best part is that the younger generation actively takes part in it. "I joined the Art of Living and it has completely changed my outlook towards life," says Shubhangi S, a third year college student. Shubhangi joined the meditation course after she saw a sea change in her friend, who did the course. She adds, "After the course, my friend used to bustle with energy every day and her outlook to life changed completely. Her confidence levels shot up, and this is what attracted me to the course." She also says that the Sudarshan Kriya changed her life.
Dhanya Sundar, got into Isha Yoga two years back. She was in her third year of engineering and found it difficult to manage her studies and personal life. "I thought that my life was going everywhere and I lacked focus," she says. Dhanya heard about the course through her cousin and initially didn't like the idea of meditation. After much persuasion, when she tried it out for herself, she says she could "feel the difference".
Even the techniques of meditation and yoga have changed, maybe to cater to the increasing number of youngsters. "Meditation is not just confined to chants; we have a lot of fun activities interspersed with powerful meditation techniques," says Shubhangi. Dhanya confirms, "Even at Isha Yoga, we have games and other activities. It keeps the element of liveliness in the course." From organizing trips to luncheons, meditation today is no longer boring.
Kamala Ravi, a final year college student, has been practising Bharat Thakur's Artistic Yoga and says, "I can feel the difference; I am active throughout the day." She also counts the health benefits and adds, "Apart from mental well being, I feel healthier physically; it's a great workout too."
"Problems like stress, low self confidence and self-esteem, peer pressure, etc. can be easily dealt with through yoga," explains Gautham, a yoga instructor. According to Gautham, an urban environment can easily cause chronic stress to children, which can be dealt with through meditation and yoga. He stresses, "Yoga gives children a space, and a place where they can let their guards down and understand their own private experience. They don't need to be wary and careful all the time. They can learn to explore their inner lives."