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Should yoga be made compulsory in schools?

The benefits of yoga as a wellness practice are widely recognised today. The controversies related to yoga are also extensively reported. True, yoga is said to be beneficial for the mind, body and soul, but is this reason enough for yoga to be introduced to school-going children? Should it be promoted in schools? Are all the doubts surfacing on the minds of people following Islam and Christianity unfounded?While the traditional practice has been recognised by the United Nations as well and June 21 is marked as the International Day of Yoga, the Ministry of Human Resource Development's (HRD's) last year's decision to make yoga compulsory in government schools across the country faced backlash. Recently, the government underlined that yoga will find a "s;significant place"s; in the new education policy. Now, let's take a look at the various aspects which come into consideration when we try to factor if yoga should be made compulsory in schools:Break from gizmos Increasingly, schoolchildren remain glued to gadgets these days. Whether it is video games, tablets or mobile phones, the power of the clicks amaze children. This results in students becoming couch potatoes and weight gain is the visible problem among others. In such a scenario, if schools introduce yoga, then it will help students remain fit and they will remain physically active. However, many schools argue that they already have compulsory Physical Education (PE) classes and adding yoga is not a viable option."s;The students play during the break. Besides that, there are designated sports classes for each standard every week. The focus needs to be balanced and academics also need attention,"s; an Assam government school teacher told on conditions of anonymity. The stress buster The fittest survive and others falter in this age of cut-throat competition. "s;To promote yoga in schools is right action by the government. By doing yoga, children of this age will find life more relaxing and playful as the world, nowadays, is very competitive from quite an early age,"s; yoga practitioner Shishir Basotia told The asanas like Anjali Mudra (salutation seal), Sukhasana (easy pose) and Savasana (corpse pose), among others help to fight stress and anxiety. Health is wealthHypertension, diabetes and heart diseases—sounds scary? Well, scarier is the fact that many are falling prey to these lifestyle diseases at a young age. Besides, eating healthy food, incorporating other healthy habits like practicing yoga regularly can benefit individuals to a great extent. Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Power, Baptise Yoga and prana flow which come under Vinyasa Yoga, for instance, energises body, boosts mood and has many benefits for the heart. A habit, a rational lifestyleWhile it is true that it is never late to start practising yoga, why not start early? Multiple studies suggest that yoga and meditation are immensely effective in enhancing memory. Pragya Ghildial, yoga therapist and counselor, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre told, "s;These days society has become materialistic and concept of outdoor play had diminished and children mostly stay indoors leading to little or no physical activity and health issues."s;"s;Yoga helps in overall well-being of the body and soul, especially making your spine flexible which helps keep metabolism and blood circulation healthy,"s; he said.The blood flow can be improved with yoga and oxygen supply to body cells can henceforth be increased. If practised from a young age, yoga can work wonders and help one grow gracefully. Why to wait then?Just for jobsAs the Andhra Pradesh government recently made yoga compulsory in schools and junior colleges in the state, a new problem surfaced—fewer teachers and many vacant posts! Lack of manpower is surely a practical problem which needs to be solved. While the government planned to train physical education teachers in yoga, adequate training and innovative approach like funding under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can resolve the issue.Also, it should be noted that there are many qualified yoga trainers who are sitting without permanent jobs, if yoga is made compulsory in schools, then employment opportunities will open up for them. Also, individuals can be trained and employed in schools, the job market will benefit both ways! Take a look at the various aspects which come into consideration when we try to factor if yoga should be made compulsory in schools.