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Summer Yoga Camp for Children by VYASA Houston

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HOUSTON: VYASA Houston organized a ten-day Summer Yoga Camp for children between the ages 5-14 from July 14th to July 23rd. The camp was held at Keshav Smriti in West Houston area and 11 kids participated. The camp is specially designed for children with intermediate and advanced Asanas. VYASA directors Viswarupa Nanjundappa and Smitha Mallaiah are the inspiration for the conception and execution of the summer Yoga camp. The children’s classes were taught by enthusiastic instructors Jay Chandrasekharan, Vijay Jilledimudi and adult classes were taught by Satya Pappu.

The camp was a holistic mix of Yoga practices like asana, pranayama, meditation with yoga philosophy of Yama-Niyama, healthy eating with a bit of fun for children. Every day, the camp started with Krida Yoga, where Seetalikarana (stretching and warming-up) techniques are incorporated into fun games. The children and their parents participated in Krida Yoga enthusiastically. After Krida Yoga, the children’s class and adults’ class would commence separately. A starting prayer is chanted, followed by Warming up. Surya Namaskara, Asanas, Pranayama, and Relaxation techniques were taught and practiced in both children’s and adults’ classes.

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On the first day, each child is given a space on the whiteboard, where they can write their thoughts, reflections, ideas about the camp and generally express themselves. The kids filled their spaces with interesting information about themselves, their favorite Asana, the Asana they want to master, their aspirations, their strengths and their areas of improvement. Every day, one child who performed well is identified and encouraged with a prize.

There were educational lectures on every other day delivered by Pediatricians and Yoga teachers on varied topics. On first day, Vijay Jilledimudi delivered a lecture called “A beautiful life starts with a beautiful mind”, based on the first two tenets of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga – Yama and Niyama. A personality-development questionnaire is designed based on the principles of Yama & Niyama, and was given to all the children to rate themselves every day to assess their own progress. 60% of the children filled out the questionnaire on daily basis and tracked their progress.

Jay Chandrasekharan delivered the second lecture on “Mindfulness in daily activities and Mindful Eating”, with the help of an animated video that children could easily relate to, followed by a question and answer session.

Pediatrician, Dr. Meghana Samant delivered the third lecture on “Nutrition”, and used food materials like grains, lentils, etc. to identify the major food groups, and a plate that shows the portions of each food group in a meal. She delivered a fourth lecture on “The Effects of Sugar Consumption” with interesting props that made great impact on children’s mind.

Pediatrician, Dr. Anjana Dhingra delivered the fifth lecture on “Power of Positive Attitude and Team Spirit” with a game designed with energy ball, which captivated children’s attention and conveyed the message of cooperation and one-ness. Children enjoyed playing the game while understanding the importance of unity.

Satya Pappu delivered the last lecture on “Calming the mind and Slowing down” using a TED talk by Kimi Werner followed by group discussion, separately in the children’s class, and the adults’ class.

On the last day of the camp, the assistant director of VYASA Houston, Smitha Mallaiah addressed the parents of the children who participated in the camp. She talked about the significance of Yoga practice in children and teens, how beneficial it is for their body and mind, and how to continue the learning and practice. After that, each child demonstrated to the audience, his/her favorite Asana synchronized with breathing, and talked about what they learnt and liked in the camp, and how they are planning to apply the learning in their life. The parents also shared their feedback and ideas about the camp and expressed their interest in future camps, and continuing classes for the children and themselves. The camp graduates shared the benefits of the yoga camp in improved flexibility, ability to manage stress etc. Smitha Mallaiah addressed the children, with an inspiring story from Swami Vivekananda’s life. The program concluded with certificate presentation to all the participants.

For more yoga courses and other yoga educational activities from VYASA-Houston visit www.vyasahouston.org or email vyasahouston@gmail.com.

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