Taking yoga to state schools

Last Updated 12 July 2010, 10:35 IST

With play-time coming down because of a thrust on academics, the physical activities of present-day children have been reduced to zilch. The lethal combination of sedentary lifestyles and junk-food culture is wreaking havoc with their physical health, besides spawning obesity-related problems in many children. One sees them carping about excruciating knee-pain, backaches etc, even at a young age.
It was this concern that led S N Omkar to do something revolutionary, for the overall well-being of today’s children.

That is how Yoga Mandir Trust, the brainchild of Dr S N Omkar, veteran yoga expert and Principal Research Scientist at Indian Institute of Science took shape. Being the Founder Trustee , he has conceptualised the SURYA programme (Student Upliftment And Rejuvenation through YogA) for the benefit of today’s youngsters.

This erudite scientist, who has shuttled all over the globe, disseminating yogic knowledge through his lectures and demos, is currently on a whirlwind tour travelling across the State teaching yoga to school children, without fees.

This apart, over 36,000 books on suryanamaskar authored by him, have been distributed among children, all free of cost. In his lectures, he even incorporates moral lessons (gleaned from the stupendous work of spiritual scientist Patanjali), thus creating a positive impact on young, impressionable minds.  

Yoga for free in the districts
Omkar, who has conducted many yoga camps for India’s cricket stars, and trained many Kannada film actors in yogic techniques, explains, “Recently we covered Gadag, T’Narsipura, Kushal Nagar, etc, enlightening school children about the importance of practising yoga and suryanamaskar in particular. The positive attributes of this physical exercise is that, it can be practised anywhere, even in a ground! You needn’t have to fritter away big bucks, unlike in the case of a gym where you have to spend on gadgets. And you can drastically burn calories. It’s a holistic health regimen, which strengthens the joints and muscles.”
 He continues, “By adopting this fitness regime, one can buffer oneself against many ailments such as backache, knee-pain, cardio-vascular diseases etc, even circumvent age-related problems like osteoporosis, and also pre-empt onslaught of diabetes, hypertension, et al.

“As children have malleable minds and have the alacrity to learn, it’s easy to push them into a fitness groove. The values that we ladle out keep their minds calm and unpolluted,” he says.

This multifaceted person, who has bagged prestigious awards like Rajyotsava Award, Kempegowda Award, etc, has also earned titles like Yoga Ratna and Gnana Ratna.
He  has over 1600 yoga shows on Kannada television channels to his credit, apart from taking up many philanthropic activities. The proceeds from four of his recently released DVDs on yogic techniques, apart from books authored by him and the lectures/work-shops on stress-management in corporate circuits, are all channeled towards the welfare of underprivileged children.
Omkar has also been instructing yoga to physically and mentally challenged children without fees. 

The yoga expert’s equally munificent wife, Vanishree (Managing Trustee of Yoga Mandir) also regularly arranges free food for the inmates of an old-age home and a mentally-challenged centre. She even donates saris and mangalyas to needy women as part of mass-marriage programmes. But what’s also laudable is the fact that this wonderful couple is shortly planning to adopt eight mentally-challenged girls.
Omkar’s work on yoga is available on yogaonweb.com

(Published 12 July 2010, 10:35 IST)

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