Yoga Education in Schools and Colleges

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

It is the general belief that yoga vidya is only for householders who have always had a spiritual leaning or for those who have renounced the world. As you know, it is our mission to bring knowledge of yoga to every home and we should not be surprised if in time to come it becomes part of the curriculum in every school also.

There is no reason why this should not be so. Yoga promises an all-round development of our personality, it gives physical and mental power, and that is the reason why everyone should learn this vidya. Not only does yoga do this, but it also teaches us how to harness our mental and spiritual forces and use them to tackle the challenges of life, how to remain serene and undaunted under adverse circumstances, nor get elated when fortune smiles on us. It is because yoga teaches all this it should have a place in our children's school and college education. They should have intellectual development, physical development, and yogic development. The last includes moral and spiritual development, and has a wholesome influence on the entire personality.

Psychologists declare that when you go in deep meditation, the layers of samskaras which cause abnormal behaviour are uprooted and destroyed. The personality then becomes normal. To put this in scriptural parlance – Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram within you then begin to express through you. Your true personality blossoms out. A positive attitude towards life develops. Social obligations are no longer shirked, worries, fears, anxieties go, and a quiet confidence takes over. Yoga can do all this, and if the individual gains in stature, in the final analysis the nation, too, gains in stature.

A time may come in our mission for the propagation of yoga when our voice will be raised to such a pitch, that the leaders will have to take notice and begin seriously to give yoga its rightful place in our national life. Even the man in the street has begun to realize the importance of yoga. Each according to his needs can gain from this wonderful science and overcome his deficiencies.

We shall have to devise yoga textbooks to suit elementary, high school and college students. There are many religious books but there is a singular lack of books on yoga. Practise of yoga nidra, which is so simple, can remove our children's neuroses. It also reduces the normal hours of sleep and thus increases our active life. Khechari mudra, ujjayi pranayama, trataka, all these, so simple yet so effective, increase mental powers tremendously.

People have false notions about yoga. Yoga is not a fad. Yoga is not charlatanry. Stopping heart beats or lying buried underground is not yoga. Yoga is a rational science. It makes you a useful member of society. The curse of the modern age is upon us and it threatens to make our children more and more irreligious and abnormal. Let yoga bring back a spirit of religion and good behaviour in them. Then when they grow up, they will lead a purposeful life and play their individual role for the greater glory of our nation.

—Delivered at 1st International Yoga Convention, Munger, 1964 Printed in YOGA Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 1965)