Row over ‘brain yoga’

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education’s decision to make children perform “super brain yoga”, which is claimed to enhance memory power and concentration, hone leadership skills and help students handle pressure, at the 62nd Karnataka Rajyotsava celebrations has attracted sharp criticism from some quarters.

The yoga posture is similar to a common “punishment pose”, where a person holds the ears and does sit-ups. This is referred to as the “Ganesha ashana” or “Ganapati yoga”.

To begin with, sources said the programme was not in the schedule approved by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait.

On the other hand, rationalists and school managements are questioning the basis on which students are being made to do “super brain yoga”.

D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said it was “meaningless for the department to endorse things which have no scientific evidence.”

Rationalist Narendra Nayak accused the Congress government of promoting “soft Hindutva” by allowing such programmes. “The department is making tall claims without shared evidence and promoting quackery, which is against the article of the Constitution, which promotes scientific temper,” he said.

A note authored by T. Vishwanath, CEO, Vishwa Prana Yoga Prathishtana Trust, which guided the performance on Wednesday, said this form of yoga was a “special process by which an ordinary personality can be developed into an extraordinary one like super intellectual Ganesha.” This was circulated by the department, which also claimed all scientific literature pertaining to this was destroyed during fire at the Takshashila and Nalanda universities.