Yoga Education by Children

Pallavi Prakash, Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal, Munger

I have been a yoga instructor with Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal since the age of ten (1996). I was fortunate to be one of the first five child instructors and was successful in being chosen by competition to demonstrate yoga at an All India Convention with Swami Niranjanananda in 1996.

Being one of the first instructors, the concept of children teaching yoga to children seems so natural that finding any arguments to support it becomes a bit difficult. I find that since the children I teach are almost of my age group, I am more polite, alert and aware with them. My friends like to be taught by me. They consider that having a schoolteacher teach yoga makes it like any other subject.

When an adult teaches yoga, children often think that yoga is only for adults. But when children teach, it is not necessary to explain that yoga is important for children. Swamiji also gave another reason for having children as yoga teachers. Our teachers are already overburdened with their volumes of lectures, so it is not good to entrust them with another direct responsibility, although their support as co-ordinators is definitely needed.

Whenever I take a class, the presence of my teacher helps to maintain a disciplined atmosphere and in return the teacher gets time to relax. When Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal first sent me to conduct yoga classes at my school, the teachers doubted my ability, but the following year when a girl was sent from another school, they objected. They started taking pride in their own student's ability to give yoga classes.

It has been an honour to work on this project since its inception and I have the conviction that our model, inspired by Swami Niranjanananda, will eventually be accepted as the norm.