Deepa H Ramakrishnan
Practitioners request Government to recognise yoga as a sport
PUDUCHERRY: Bodies that fold up like umbrellas? One had to see it to believe it.
People of all ages at Subalakshmi Mahal in Muthialpet demonstrated their skills in yogasanas. The audience witnessed the mastery that the yogasana practitioners had over their bodies as they performed all kinds of asanas for the sake of the sport.
Though the Government has not yet recognised yogasana as a sport, the enthusiasm of the hundreds of children and elders who participated in the Yoga Sport Championship 2006 showed that they learnt the skills for the sake of imbibing the yoga culture in their lives. Unlike other sports, such championships are the only times that people performing yogasanas are appreciated, and awarded prizes, medals and certificates for their proficiency in the field.
Each of the 360 participants at the 21st Pondicherry State and 3rd Tamil Nadu State Yoga Sports Championship will walk out of the hall with some kind of gift, medal or certificate. Children under the age of six will all get a prize, as they were not competing against each other.
Also performing yogasanas were 17 children of Saday, a school for special needs. "The children have been learning yoga for the past two years. We have regular yoga classes every Saturday, and it is open to special children from other schools. After the yoga classes the children are able to concentrate better. They are able to listen and understand commands better. Some children who were very hyperactive have slowed down a bit. They also have better eye-hand co-ordination now, and at the same time seem to balance their body better," said Sugathan, founder of Saday.
"We cannot have a sporting event for yoga but only for yogasanas. This is the only opportunity that the practitioners of yogasanas get to exhibit their talents. This is our 21st championship, and every year we see more students participating. If the Puducherry Government includes yogasana as a sport it would help students win scholarships in schools and colleges, and also help the sport to grow," said Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, Honorary General Secretary, Pondicherry Yogasana Association.
Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Honorary President, Pondicherry Yogasana Association, said yoga was a good activity for the youth, as it did not need any infrastructure or equipment.