Education for the SPECIAL – Part 1

Every travel has been a wonderful experience for me, a learning experience that changed my perception of education in our country. Travelling far and wide in the journey to improve the quality of education in schools spread across the length and breadth of the country the definition of quality changed with every visit and every endeavour.

When I visited the Social welfare and the Tribal welfare schools in the state I was amazed at the kind of money being pumped into these learning institutions that are grooming the young generations of the underprivileged sections to access mainstream education and lay a foundation for a successful after school life. These schools do not boast of a lavish infrastructure or basic facilities but are cradled in nature’s lap which brings back the memories of vedic universities. Undoubtedly the buildings are dilapidated but the shortfalls are compensated by the availability of abundant natural resources. The natural settings around some schools can awe any visitor and give an illusion of high standard education being delivered.

These schools have been set up with an idealistic vision of providing quality education modelled along the lines of gurukul system which provided shelter and food along with education on the guidelines of our scriptures that say that “no learning can happen on empty stomach”. Apart from accommodation these students are assured a small sum of pocket-money which they use for their personal needs.

The quality of education provided in these schools range from least effective to effective, of course these students sit for various competitive exams and few successfully get entry into different engineering and medical studies; however the number getting into these fields is not very high. Then, how far can we say that these schools are successful in achieving the outcomes.

Walking through the corridors of these schools, looking at the young boys and girls whom we promise quality provision that fuels their dreams of a good life for themselves and their kith, I mused on how many really make it happen with the kind of support they get in these schools. Are these schools able to achieve the goals? Where do these children go with bits of knowledge and understanding of subjects and ineffective communication skills? Sometimes I wonder, are we able to make it with this section of the society that means and matters a lot in the national development and assure us a better place in the world ranking with improved human development indices.

I leave the schools with an agitated mind and confusion on what could be the next steps for these schools to improve. The rigid regulations and policies that govern the Indian school system make it very challenging to import innovative ideas to change the eco system of these schools. I really ponder why did we think of a typical traditional system for these students who need more than knowledge of social sciences and language to raise the standard of their lives. Why do these children have to suffer the consequences of erroneous planning?

When the agenda of human development takes precedence then the policies that script the destiny of the weaker sections should probe the factors that favour their progress. There is no denying that education is the overall panacea for all problems. The question should have been what sort of education will help the weaker section get into mainstream successfully?

Within the traditional set up a different scheme of things would lead to better outcomes. The students come from different social settings and background, addressing and arranging a system for this group requires radical ideas and divergent thinking.  A total overhaul of the system is required for the transformation of these institutions into universities of learning, preparing young men and women to fight all odds to move forward in life and contribute to a peaceful and progressive society.

Proficiency in three languages is not imperative for a successful life. Therefore, two language formula in these schools will not derail the overall education system or disqualify the students in appearing for competitive exams.  A choice to study any one language other than English will benefit the students and the schools in the long run.

What else is required to make a good living?  Undoubtedly, it is the proficiency in the global language which opens up better opportunities. This is the language of communication, of facebook and twitter that enables the young to contact people all over the world. Furthermore it is the most dominant language of diplomacy, business, science, and economy and web world.  More than 90% of the data on the websites is created and written in English with about 80% stored in the computers around the world. Therefore it becomes exigent that the schools focus on developing the communication skills. The locus should be the functional aspect of the language and not the unit lessons. These schools bind themselves with the syllabus so tightly that they end up teaching content than the language which complicates the issue, the acquisition of language skills hence becomes challenging for both the teacher and the taught.  An innovative and interesting blend of curricular goals with vertical and horizontal progression enables the schools to achieve outcomes in a short span of time. The English language curriculum has to be contextualised in view of the background of the students. The main aim of the language module should be the development of effective communication skills. With a clear mission and mile stones, accomplishing outcomes would rather become easy.

When the focus shifts from communication skills mathematics and science stands out as important subjects, movement and progress in life depends on the calculation, estimation and problem solving skills. Immaterial of the career, knowledge of calculations will endow the skill of tackling challenges head on. These two sciences support an individual’s capacity to think logically and differently.  The main question still remains- what percentage of students attain minimum levels in maths and science that empower them to become progressive thinkers. The thinking of young generation becomes vulnerable if science and math subjects do not teach them reasoning skills and unfortunately it is a fact.

What are the young boys learning with wandering minds and quivering thoughts? These youngsters behave as aliens in class and as warriors in playground. Well, here is the clue, the young spirits are bubbling with raw energy waiting to be shown the right direction, I have spoken to several young boys in these institutions who are more interested in sports and games than in theories and theorems.  They need “sports schools” or “sports classes” to encourage them to participate in their own rise and success. Their thought process belong to a totally different genre as they have seen and heard of their generations living in penury and inaccessible pockets of civilizations therefore drawing them into the current society norms may be challenging.  India cannot sit basking in the glories of Vijay Kumars or Mary Koms, these species have to be multiplied in the playgrounds of learning institutions.  Therefore it becomes necessary to rewrite the education plan for these schools, directed and targeted focus leads to specific and definite outcomes, generalised education and a blanket program may still leave several gaps which makes the entire planning a naught.  Playgrounds and sports fields are the suitable learning places for these adolescents which trains them to accept defeat and exhibit positive sportsmanship skills. In defeat they learn valuable lessons of life. These students enjoy the sporting experience because it is close to their roots and run in their genes. Sports will teach them innumerable lessons which may last longer than monotonous class lessons.

(To be Continued…)

– Ms Anitha Jagathkar, Member – Advisory board, Ankur Learning Solutions Pvt ltd


Letting the Child be Both the Sculpture and the Sculptor

“Education is The Manifestation of The Perfection Already in Man”… This quote by Swami Vivekananda demonstrates the clarity and crispness with which Swami Vivekananda delivered his messages.

Three important messages pop out from this statement – Manifestation, The Perfection, Already in Man…

Manifestation – It is not assimilation, but Manifestation. Mere intellectualisation of concepts and ideas do not suffice. True education is to ensure that the learning gets manifested in actions.

There is no purpose learning hundred things, without giving scope to find expression in life. It is advisable to take one thing at a time and internalise, before claiming to have learnt that.

Perfection – Whatever we learn should be manifested. But the question arises… what should we learn? What should be manifested? Swamiji talks of manifestation of perfection. As it is the case with most of Ancient Indian Scriptural Concepts – Perfection, as used by Swami Vivekananda needs to be viewed from two levels/perspectives.

  • At the spiritual level, it denotes the divinity or completeness of an individual. The perfection or divinity in man should find expression as a result of education. In Swamiji’s own words…

“The Light Divine within is obscured in most people. It is like a lamp in a cask of iron, no gleam of light can shine through. Gradually, by purity and unselfishness, we can make the obscuring medium less and less dense, until at last it becomes transparent as glass”. Note that Swamiji talks not only about the Divine within, but also the means by which that Divinity has to be brought out. Education should provide tools for one to be pure and unselfish.

  • At the day-to-day practical, worldly level, perfection denotes the ability to address various problems human beings encounter in society. Again in Swamiji’s words…

“The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out the strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs.”

Education must provide “life-building, man-making and character making” assimilation of ideas to evolve as a holistic individual – one who has learned how to improve his intellect, purify his heart, handle his emotions and stand firm on moral virtues and unselfishness.

Already in Man – This is the key message in the above quote. The perfection which has to be manifested, Swamiji declares, is already in man. When we already have it, what is the role of education? What are we learning? The process of education is actually a process of purification.

It is a process of removing the blinding mask and realise the perfectness within.

It is a process which brings out the strength within and makes us courageous like a lion and help us stand on our own legs.

Here lies the critical role of an educator – be it a parent at home or a teacher at school, we need to make education student centric.

It is an educator’s responsibility to throw light on the strengths of the student and facilitate ways to bring out those strengths, to nurture a confident and courageous adult. An educator’s role is that of a farmer, not a sculptor.

A Sculptor carves out a beautiful image from a barren rock. There are many sculptors who do such fine job that the sculptures look real and life laden. A sculptor replicates the image he had conceptualised, in the rock. The stone with no inherent characteristics simply takes the shape, its sculptor gives.

Many a time, a parent or teacher act as sculptors and the children their sculptures. They try to mould and carve them into wonderful human beings. A noble objective… Is it really so?

We frequent with parents wanting their children to grow up and become like them or like what they wanted to be, but could not. Several others want to mould them into money-making machines. They force them to get into a field which is sought after in the market so that they can make more money. This market driven trend in human development is one of the main cause of stress. We come across youngsters – four to five years in the industry and disinterested in what they are doing, because their heart, passion and skill-set is elsewhere. This is counter-productive for all – the individual, organisation, family and the society.

A Farmer grows a mighty tree or a small plant, all with same amount of Love and Care. A farmer knows that each seed is different. Like all living beings, seeds have a unique inherent nature. The farmer provides the right environment for the seedling to emerge and simply act as a facilitator in its growth process.

Similarly an ideal educator has to provide the Right, Conducive, Compassionate and Loving environment for the child to grow into establishing his full potential…

An ideal educator sees the child from child’s eyes and let him grow based on his inherent strengths…

An ideal educator remain as helper/facilitator in the process of learning providing the child with necessary environment and tools letting the child be both the sculptor and the sculpture…

Self Made Man

Yoga is a time-tested and effective tool to realize the above objective. Yogic science explains five facets of human personality – Physcial, Vital, Mental, Intellectual and Spiritual. Different elements of Yoga help develop and hone these aspects of human personality at the individual level creating an ideal foundation for evolution of a responsible social personality

The five primary aspects of human personality are highly integrated. Evolving on one aspect also help evolve the other aspects. A good yoga teacher aware of this subtle aspect, provides student-centric tools, so that one is able to use the strengths to work on the weaknesses and evolve in a balanced manner.

For example let us take asana – one of the yogic tools. A single asana can work on all five aspects of human personality:

  • physical personality – making the body relaxed, fit, flexible and healthy
  • energy levels – directing the energies to the right place at the right time keeping one energetic
  • mental and psychic personality – making the mind calm, relaxed and focused
  • intellectual persona – brining out the spontaneity and creativity within
  • spiritual persona – helping one realize the completeness within and unity without

Similarly other aspects of Hatha Yoga like pranayama, various types of meditation practices etc., can also be used to evolve one or more aspects of human personality. Apart from Hatha Yoga, there are also other types of yoga, like karma yoga, bhakthi yoga, jnana yoga, etc., which can be practiced by all.

Practiced under expert guidance Yoga helps develop a clear, pure and focused mind making one more effective in life. The clarity and focus help one identify the strengths and weaknesses, prioritize needs and wants, discriminate right and appropriate from the wrong and make right decisions both in simple day-to-day activities and in life-influencing career choices. Thus Yoga is an effective tool with which children can sculpt their own life.

On this Children’s Day let us educators, resolve to help the child become a good sculptor of his own sculpture.

The Guru-Sishya Story

Ankur: “Hi Rishi. I understand that you have been looking for me”.

Rishi :  “Hi Ankur. What are you doing on 12th July?”

Ankur :  “I am not doing anything specific.  What is so special about that day?”

Rishi : “We are celebrating Guru Purnima on that day”.  I am honouring all the reputed teachers in the city on that day. I thought you could help me out in making the arrangements.”

Ankur : “I have been wondering about this Rishi.  When the whole country celebrates teachers’ day on September 5th, you are always in a hurry to celebrate this a couple of months earlier. Why hurry? Relax…”

Rishi :  (Laughs loudly) “Why do you think September 5th is celebrated as Teachers’ Day?”

Ankur :  “It is the birthday of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, our former President, who was a great teacher. We celebrate this day as Teachers’ Day in his honour.”


Rishi :  “No doubt… Dr Radhakrishnan was a great teacher.  But are you aware that “Teachers’ Day” has been celebrated for thousands of years on full moon day of the lunar month of Ashadh as Guru Purnima; Grand festivities are made on that day and teachers honoured.”

Ankur :  “Wow!  This is interesting.  I never knew that. Why have we been celebrating Teachers’ Day on this particular day?”

Rishi :  “Ankur.  I always appreciate this inquisitiveness in you.  This day is celebrated in honour of Sage Veda Vyasa, our badharayana who is considered as our first Guru.”


Ankur : “Is there any specific reason he is considered as the first Guru?”

Rishi : “Actually I need to explain to you two things in answer to this question.  First, our ancient seers had developed immense capabilities beyond their normal senses and were able to come in contact with the universal laws.  For millennia, they passed on these laws to their students orally.  As times passed, capability of humans to grasp the entire knowledge started diminishing.  At this juncture, Sage Veda Vyasa compiled all this knowledge into different sections and simplified them through many stories and historical events so that they are easily available and within the reach of common man.  In this way he made available a huge amount of wisdom to the common man and hence he is considered as the first Guru.”

Ankur : Oh!  This is a very interesting story.  So do you mean to say that he had written a book?  If so, what is the name of the book?  I would like to read that.”

Rishi :  “Sage Vyasa had been a great author.  He wrote lots of books (on palm leaves) in different formats for people with different personality types.  The Four Vedas, several Upanishads, 18 Puranas, Brahmasutras, etc., all together amounts to more than million verses… This is his contribution.”

Ankur :  “Oh!  That is too much.  One would not be able to complete a fraction of that in his life time.  So how is one going to benefit from this?”

Rishi :  “You must remember that he is a master teacher – the prime Guru.  He identified different sets of Gurus and made them each expert in one set of books.  Those teachers in turn passed on the parts of knowledge in which they specialized to their disciples.  In this way the entire wisdom was preserved and handed over across generations for thousands of years.”


Ankur :  “To collate and compile all this information requires several TBs of space. Once we put that in cloud anyone can easily access it. This can be an interesting project to compile our wisdom.”

Rishi :  (Laughs again) Now I need to explain to you the other part called the Guru-Sishya parampara or Guru-Sishya tradition.  You may read volumes of information but it will not make sense to you if you don’t understand the inner meaning and its relevance to you.  In Guru-Sishya tradition, the Guru transfers not just the information but also the experience in a way that is appropriate to the student and thus actually it is the experiential knowledge which is transferred from a Guru to his discipline and not bookish knowledge.  It is for this reason that Indian culture and civilization is the longest and the only civilization whose date of origin could not be determined even now.  The computers may go, the papers may go, the palm leaves may vanish, but the wisdom in the form of experiences is there in man and that is transferred to the upcoming generations. As long as man exists this knowledge will remain…”

Ankur :  “Now I understand the greatness of our culture and the importance of Guru-Sishya parampara.  Hey!  Another truth strikes me.  Today there is a lot of buzz happening around experiential learning and activity based learning.  I thought this is a very innovative way for teaching discovered by the west.  But now I realize that is the essence of original Indian educational system.  I love this great country and feel grateful to all the great Gurus for keeping this civilization and culture alive.”


Rishi : “So what is your plan for next Saturday?”

Ankur : “Of course, I will be with you the whole day.  You are my Guru anyway.  It is my duty to offer my services to you on that day.  Can I invite Ankita also?”

Rishi :  “You are most welcome”

Jiva Vigyan – An opportunity for school principals – says HIS EXCELLENCY

His Excellency, Governor of Tamil Nadu lauds “Jiva Vigyan” as a platform for principals to collaborate in the field of life-skills education

“Ankur’s initiative through ‘Jiva Vigyan’ seems to be an obvious choice for schools to partner and work out strategies that help the youth to get equipped with life skills to become successful in the 21st century. Principals and school management should make use of this platform to collaborate, exchange ideas, learn new methodologies, concepts and reach out the same to the children and nurture Indian citizens as Global citizens. This is what our country had always stood for.”

His Excellency Governor of Tamil Nadu launches Ankur’s 2014 events

His Excellency Governor of Tamil Nadu Dr K Rosaiah ji launches three events of Ankur in 2014…

  • Children Yoga Festival 2014 in association with Satyananda Yoga Education Charitable Trust
  • Ankur Katha 2014 and
  • Jiva Vigyan

…on 19th April 2014 at Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Chennai.

CYF 2014 Inauguration

CYF, Jiva Vigyan and Ankur Katha 2014 Inaugurated by his Excellency Dr K Rosaiah



The Road to Success… The current K12 system – a case study

28th Sep 2013.

It was the second day of national summit on quality in education conducted by CII. We were in one of the last sessions of the summit. It was a well planned and executed event by CII team headed by Mr Senthil Kumar.

As the next speaker was introduced there was widespread aura of appreciation among the 550+ audience comprising management heads of schools and education service providers from across the country. This young and accomplished speaker had achievements and recognition, at least one a year in his short career this far. The audience was wondering about the list of achievements and recognition he would gain in future.

As he rose to speak, Suhas was welcomed with a big round of applause. He offered salutations to his school principal who was in the audience. It was surprising for the audience to hear that this young and intelligent achiever was dubbed a failure while in school. His marks and hence his future was a great cause of concern for his parents and teachers alike. He did not hide his concern, as a student, that his leadership skills and computer skills were not recognised and accounted for in his academic records. Hence he was dubbed a failure. He however expressed happiness that the current education system, especially CBSE has started addressing this need.

The attention was drawn to the real concern when a principal rose to ask, “Suhas, What do you attribute your success to  in life. How far do you think has your school education played a role in your success?” She went on to explain that the motivation behind the question is to understand the core ideas of discussion for the past two days – How to educate and nurture socially responsible and corporate citizens for the 21st Century? How to inculcate values and life-skills in children? How to develop the humane part in an individual apart from academics and marks in various curricular activities?

In total, the discussion that followed was lively and thought-provoking emphasising on the need-gap that is to be filled in the education system and the work ahead of school management in addressing this. The discussion also validated the direction of work at Ankur, which complements the efforts of schools in fulfilling this huge need gap.

(We shall share in a future post Life Goals and Life Skills for Success in 21st Century)

The two-day event which focused on measurement, assessment and evaluation of subjective aspects of learning; scholastic and co-scholastic skills; life-skills education and evaluation; case studies and sharing of experiences by institutions in recording and administering huge volumes of records and data was appropriate, focused, educative and lively.

Taking Yoga to (Special) Children – 3 (…Contd)

If the root of the tree is nurtured well with water and fertile soil, there is no end for the tree’s growth. It is so beautiful when the tree grows and to watch the tree as it grows is very fulfilling.

Similarly the growth of this IYP program year after year makes us feel all the more happy to go ahead in the path of seva and loving those kids.

Every quarter the evaluation process is done and changes in the child’s behaviour are recorded. Mothers are insisted to follow the IYP programme regularly with complete faith and belief so that the benefits of the practice can be experienced by the child as early as possible.

The challenges are addressed with the sankalpa also and hence the mother is motivated to say the sankalpa every day. Many mothers experienced changes in their child’s behaviour and have shared their happiness with us.

A log sheet is prepared so that the mother enters her day-to-day practices of yoga and sankalpa. On observing the log sheet we come to know whether the mother is making her child to do all the practices and whether she says the sankalpa daily. This log sheet is entered in the school itself in the presence of yoga teacher or their class teacher.

The knowledge of yoga is delivered to the mother, as she is the carrier of the programme to the child. The mother is empowered to help the child. This IYP model is a complete communicative model in itself.

We look forward to take it to other special schools also.


Jnana Jyothi, Yoga teacher,

Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane


CCE, Yoga, What next in Getting back to OUR ROOTS?

Six and half decades since political Independence…

There are now signs of Independence for Indian Education System?

We are now slowly but steadily moving away from the Macaulay system of education introduced by British

We are now getting back to our roots…

We often complain about the faults in our education system and reforms that are required to make it effective and meet the goals of holistic education. They are relevant for the policy makers and institutions to consider and act upon.

In this article we take a quick peek at some of the recent initiatives, especially by CBSE and various state education boards that are in a positive direction taking us back to our roots… and the next step? in this direction.

Yes, efforts are on and there is a long way to go to make sure that all schools are empowered to implement the above effectively. But, the good news is that the journey…

to get back to our roots… to revive the essence of Ancient Indian education system and gurukul pattern… has now begun

Is Sanskrit literacy the next step in this direction?

Sanskrit with its grammatical perfectness is also acknowledged as most suitable language a computer can understand. Lot of research is happening in the west in this direction. NASA has already started using it in its experiments. The day is not very far when computer programming is made only in sanskrit. In that scenario sanskrit literacy will become a mandatory requirement for programming professionals. Last time around India missed the boat when west marched past during industrial revolution.

Schools in Europe have realised this and many advantages Sanskrit learning has. They have made it compulsory in their schools. They also realise that chanting of vedic mantras help in stimulating various centres in the body and help in learning, memorising, concentration, diction, etc., They no more associate sanskrit and vedic mantras with religion. Sanskrit and vedas have now entered into their definition of secular and scientific education. Has it entered ours? Edison, Einstein apart from other philosophers, scientists, etc., across the world have long since acknowledged the universal applicability of Gita and Vedas.

Some reports and video links:

With the nativity advantage, we are better equipped to make our upcoming generation sanskrit literate by making it mandatory in schools and thus catching up with the next big thing. Moving ahead of the pseudo-secular tag, our policy makers have Introduced an elective course on knowledge traditions and practices of India in CBSE. Carrying on with the spirit, there is also serious debate happening in this direction to better understand the relevance of Sanskrit in modern times. Hope this translates into reality and we see our upcoming generation converse in Sanskrit.

For all these steps and initiatives to be effective, there is a definite need for all stakeholders in the system – parents, teachers, school management and policy makers to act in cohesion. Teachers and parents play a key role in this process. They have to be taken into confidence, informed and trained so that they are better empowered in playing a constructive role in nurturing our children to face the challenges of 21st Century.

Self Reflection for improving personal and professional competence

As a trainer for school principals and teachers I always ask this question to my audience, how many of you reflect on your practices? How many of you introspect your own strengths and weaknesses and work to improve yourself. Surprisingly just a handful says yes, the condition being availability of time. Reflecting on one’s work is key to success.



As practitioners we need to ask ourselves

  • How can we refine our practices to offer the best education possible?
  • How can we deepen our understanding of how, our children learn in a world, that is rapidly changing and progressing?

The theory of reflective practice was elucidated by Donald Schon, who emphasized on reflective practice by the practitioners.  It is more important in education settings to enable the practitioners to reach the highest state of thinking that enhances the skills of taking effective decisions to improve performances.  His ideas ignited the imaginations of many working people in the public services and have influenced practices around the world in seeking to improve these.

Teacher education colleges emphasize more on the assimilation of course content that is full of learning theories and teaching methodologies. The trainees may understand them as content but are not actually knowledgeable about the implications of content on their own practices. The trainees are neither oriented nor trained on self-reflection which is as important as any other compulsory and elective subjects.

Lead through Reflection...

Lead through Reflection…

Reflection is an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull over & evaluate it. It is this working with experience that is important in learning. Ancient Indian Education system describes this as Nidhi Dhyasanam (Contemplation), the third essential step in learning process, stimulating higher order thinking skills. The first two are, Sravanam (Reading/listening) and Mananam (Understanding).

Teaching is the only profession where mindsets and attitudes develop in closed classroom transactions and interactions; therefore it becomes necessary for every teacher to reflect on his personal and professional attributes and competence that has a direct bearing on the individualities of students.

Teachers feel that self reflecting doesn’t change anything because they are either listening to their governing board, management, parents or students and that their work is directly related to the expectations of the managing boards. In such a scenario teachers should step back and think deeply, in fact, reflection should be a part of all teachers’ repertoires.



There are several physical, practical and psychological barriers to self-reflection nonetheless it is a process which will aid the teaching faculty in improving their performances and help them to better their classes in many ways that will positively impact the student outcomes.

The teaching community tries to pass the buck on lack of facilities, resources and support that leads to poor attainment levels.  However, once they contemplate on the process they will surely agree that self-reflection actually

  • Expands the understanding of the teaching / learning process
  • Empowers the class teacher to take control of his class and learning process
  • Enlarges the range of teaching to make it more connective and engaging
  • Enables the implementation of learner centric teaching methods

Surely enough, teachers do not need great school buildings, ICT enabled infrastructure, well-behaved students, great parental support or heavy pay cheques to reflect.

Self reflection can happen anywhere and anytime provided the teachers have the interest, attitude and liking for self and others, that motivate them to introspect on how well they are doing?

Ms Anitha Jagathkar, Project Manager

CfBT Education Services, India

Taking Yoga to (Special) Children – 2

Click to read first part of this story

Yes! We got the seed.

We could… FEEL THE WAY we could take yoga to the special children in a very special way. SEE the seed evolving.

Cutting the long story short

Our centre’s founder Shiva Rishi ji  observed each group of children and the process of analyzing their behavioral challenges began.

We keenly observed the behaviour of a child with a specific disorder. This gave us an overall understanding for giving the yoga practices. In general all the children were taught all the practices in pawanmukthasana part 1 group which are the basic yoga practices with the help of the mothers.

Orientation programmes were given to all the mothers so that they could understand the importance of these practices. Mothers made some positive observations about their children after the implementation of these practices. They observed the improvement in general health, in sleeping and certain behaviours.

With support from MNC (the school for special children), a special yoga program was devised for these children. We identified the parameters where yoga can be of great help to the children and to their mothers. We decided to give a tailor-made yoga program for each child as their challenges are unique and called it IYP (Individual Yoga Program).

Initially the challenges were identified by our centre’s faculty and practices suggested. Over a time, we realised that there is mismatch in teacher’s perspective and parent’s perspective as the child  behaves differently at home and school.

Hence Shiva Rishi ji decided that the challenge levels of each child, for eleven specified parameters, would be identified by the MNC teachers and consensus would be taken from the parents by us, when the IYP is given and explained to the parents.

An IYP form, that has been simplified and perfected over 8 years, clearly idendifies the challenges in a child and practices are suggested accordingly.

For example, if the child continues to drool, then practices like makarasana and chant mmmmm was suggested, so that compulsive closing of the mouth will  help in stopping this habit.

Similarly each challenge was looked into before deciding the program for a particular child.

It is said that small things give big results. Likewise small steps taken over the years helped us build this program which is well appreciated by the parents and MNC as well. Our biggest reward is in seeing some of these children move into regular schools…

With continuous research and development, the growth story continues…

 Jnana Jyoti, Yoga teacher

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