Children of New Day School have ongoing yoga classes to introduce them to Ananda Marga yoga practice. Each yoga class has the following aspects:
- Asanas (yoga postures)
- Kiirtan (chanting)
Asanas (yoga postures) are used to promote health by helping the body’s endocrine system. They are postures held in coordination with the breath. In Ananda Marga, children are only prescribed asanas after the age of 16 because the body and glands are still developing. However, at NDS we do simple postures that promote coordination, concentration and familiarity with one’s body in yoga class. We hope that by making yoga fun and interesting to the children, that the children will be inspired to take up the practice of asanas when they (and their bodies) grow up.
Kiirtan (chanting) is used to create devotion and a peaceful mood in the mind and helps prepare the mind for meditation. In Kiirtan we sing a mantra, a collection of sounds that is used with an ideation to uplift the mind. The Sanskrit mantra “Baba Nam Kevalam” literally translates to “Only the Name of the Beloved.” The essence or ideation of this mantra is that everything in this Universe is an emanation of pure loving consciousness, and we want to know and relate to the greatness or the unlimited divine potential that lies within each one of us. As the children sing kiirtan together, they feel a sense of togetherness and joy that brings calmness and peace.
Meditation helps one connect to that greatest potential that lies within. When we sit to meditate, we learn to control our busy mind and bring it peacefully inward. As the children close their eyes in meditation they are introduced to the concept of stillness and quiet. By modeling meditation to the children we are planting the “seed” of meditation which will teach the children to look deep within and recognize their greatness.
Each yoga class and sequence is taught through a story. The stories interject fun and playfulness into our yoga class and are used to teach ethical values, kiirtan and meditation. The stories also help teach the inner meaning or spirit of the yogic practices in a simple and interesting way for the child. Lastly the stories help keep the yoga classes innovative and engaging so that the children help create and express the story with the teacher.