Teachers, parents and students at the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) have always been a jolly bunch, but why do they continue to have feelings of wellbeing and positivity during COVID-19? The answer lies in a simple but creative combination of dads, kids and yoga.
This year, International Yoga Day also coincided with the Father’s Day, so the parents, students, and staff of AKES in India celebrated both events by promoting the purpose of Yoga by having fathers practice these ancient arts with their children.
In the process, 18 physical education teachers became “Yoga Heroes”. After all, yoga is an ancient Indian form of fitness regime that focuses on developing balance, strength and flexibility of body and mind. Today, the practise of yoga is one of India’s great exports. It has spread all over the world – as a way of improving body posture, balance and stability; fostering mental calmness; building endurance; relieving stress and depression; improving sleep; increasing concentration; enhancing spiritual awareness; and more.
Out of the 84 yoga-asanas prescribed in the ancient Indian scripts, the participants performed more than 30, including Pranayama, Vajrasana, Padmasan, Trikonasana, Bandha Sarvangasana, Sukhasana, Vrksasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Virabhadrasana, Janu Sirsasana, and Surya Namaskar.
A typical online session by the AKES physical education teachers consisted of the forms and processes to be followed for performing yoga-asanas, as well as learning to breathe the right way. The dads were also educated about the significance and transformational benefits of yoga in daily life. Some struggled to maintain postures while attempting to breathe in the beginning, but they later admitted feeling light and relaxed and cherished the sense of relief that yoga gave them.
However, there was another reason for twinning yoga with Father’s Day. AKES instructors wanted to hook at-home fathers into the online PE classes so that dads and kids practised their poses together. The programme allowed dads to take a break from their “work-from-home” routine by engaging with their children and enriching the bond between them.
“It was the best Father’s Day ever, as I got engaged into yoga activity along with my child,” said Mr Rahim Vasaya, a parent of class 4 student from Diamond Jubilee High School, Hyderabad. “I thank AKES and school teachers for this phenomenal idea of bonding families together during this difficult time.”
This text was adapted from a story published on the Aga Khan Schools website.