Kids demo mesmerises MPs; Yoga, meditation is key

At the recently held International Yoga Day event at the House of Commons, over 30 children from different schools stole the show with yoga poses and gave high five on their exit. Rahul Laud reports on the event and the current state of issues related to kids and youth.

Carolina Naess

Recently at a celebration of the 3rd International Yoga Day in the Houses of Parliament, a group of over 30 children from various schools and nationalities led by Carolina Naess from the Faculty at the Art of Living Foundation, became the highlight of the evening. These children had patiently waited for over two hours hearing different speeches and presentations of various MPs and yoga pundits and then performed yoga poses including Bhastrika Pranayam followed by an unusual dance without music.

These children were smiling and bubbling with joy and energy when they left the committee room. They gave a high five to all visitors gathered in Committee Room 14 at the House of Commons. After the session children were not tired, most of them who had a smiling calm face said “they felt energised after yoga.’’ Some of the children, new to the practice, felt they were “calm and quiet.’’

A young boy was so enthusiastic that he felt like “demonstrating more”. He said, he “would look forward to many more sessions” and “the rehearsals they had were exciting.’’

Kids yoga at the parliament

Parent Fatema Paretha of Keiyona said: “Well done everyone who contributed and took part. It was an amazing opportunity for the kids and I’m sure they’ll remember it for a long time to come!”

A senior Cambridge Prof Madan Thangavelu praised Carolina and saying: “Carolina spoke beautifully about her experiences and showed it came from the heart. They very were useful insights on issues related to children.’’

Sumathi Ravipathi, also from the Faculty of Art of Living whose son Teja participated in the demonstration, said: “Children were like little yogis sitting so quiet and not restless. Yoga and meditation instill such discipline, bring calmness and focus.”

Agata Mielewicz expressed thanks to all children. She said: ‘’Future of the world is with children. Yoga helps to make such an important bridge between the past and the future. Hopefully, these kids will build a better and brighter world.’’

Parent Bala, whose son Vishnu participated, said: “It felt good seeing everyone in the room get involved in the event.’’ Parent Jaya Gill echoed similar sentiments: “It was amazing to see all the kids wait patiently for their turn to perform”. Parent Meeta Joshi said: “It was really a memorable event. Carolina worked hard in bringing all together with such abundance of positive energy.’’

According to Shailen Mittal, member of the core team at the International Association for Human Values, said: “My seven-year-old daughter Divi has always been excited about yoga.  As a parent, I am aware that the kids practiced a few sessions in the run-up to the main event where they meditated 3-4 times at the end of each practice session. I am sure this itself has changed the course of their lives! I thank Carolina who shared with our parliamentarians that there are tools and techniques like Sudarshan Kriya they could practice to make better decisions for the country and its people.’’

Seven students from Forest Hills Boys school who participated were earlier trained by Carolina. Aneta Osimowicz, a teacher at the Forests Boys school, said: “After just 10 minutes of simple breathing and meditation practice led by Carolina, all students, MPs, and visitors went silent, into a peaceful, relaxed state of mind. I have witnessed in the school, rehearsals and practices with yoga and meditation led by Carolina hyperactive minds get more still and these practices get the tired minds-more alert. It is a ‘coffee kick’ breath… without all the caffeine and it is also a ‘calming’ breath, for re-setting stressed brain quickly.’’

Talking exclusively to The Weekly Tribune news, through her powerful demonstration of Yoga breath work, Carolina, a PhD student, dance and holistic therapist, pointed out that somatic movement and yogic breathing with the Sudarshan Kriya technique (as taught by the Art of Living Foundation) is a fast, cost-effective and sustainable alternative to address the root cause of many mental health related issues in school children and youth as well as school teachers. “It is a lifelong tool and invaluable gift”, she added.

She further explained that “as you may have seen lately there has been a lot of attention in media to the critical situation of school children in the UK; many children suffer from mental health problems.’’

It is reported that there is now a national campaign with a petition of nearly 10k signatures completed to focus on mental health in schools. “Immediate and long-term risks are faced by children; massive numbers are reported in child poverty – these are known factors and numbers will be much higher thus this segment of society needs immediate attention,’’ Carolina pointed out.

Asked about the significance of choosing alternate therapy, Carolina said: “Based on lots of research (including my own upcoming publication on the ANS) and my experience having worked in many schools and after schools’ programs in the USA and Europe, it is clear that the ancient time-proven practices of yoga are a safe and cost-effective way to create well-being for all. A society can only be well when its children are well and thriving.’’

She emphasised: “A holistic education is critically needed for all to build emotional resilience and social development to thrive as a community on all levels of society.’’

Carolina averred: “Stress and anxiety are the key problems. These lead to Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. ADHD is recognised as number one mental health issue; followed by online bullying; social media pressures in schools; burnouts of school staff causing absenteeism and lead to student educational problem in the UK. In addition, improper diet, peer’s, and academic pressures are equally growing issues in the UK.’’

In her passionate appeal to all MPs, community leaders, school heads, Carolina said: “Elimination of symptom is not enough. The holistic approach will uproot the ailment and disease forever and offer a long-term everlasting impact. Mindfulness is trendy and already incorporated in school programmes but when it’s replacing physical education, then children who cannot sit still, with hyperactivity issues or children who spend too much time sitting in school, may suffer, so this can be counterproductive.’’

Carolina offers a complementary approach to meditation in motion; mindfulness in motion called ‘Kanga Rhythms’. She gets invited to several symposiums, schools and charity organisations to deliver talks on this subject of child and youth well-being.

To conclude she informs: “We are planning a large-scale international ADHD study as part of my Ph.D. study on solution practices based on breath work and life skills.’’

For more information and to support her youth project, one can visit  www.carolinanaess.com