Published: 20th June 2019
This Yoga master from Bengaluru trains kids and adults with special needs
Young yoga master Yuva Naresh Kumar tell us about why he had to quit a well-paid job in the corporate sector and how he is teaching yoga to the kids and adults with special needs
Five years ago, when Yuva Naresh Kumar went on a sabbatical from his corporate job to learn yoga and master it, he never thought that it would become a way of life. Today, he not only trains many people like him, but he also teaches it to kids and adults with special needs. What lead Yuva to become a yoga teacher is a very interesting episode. Like most people, the Electronics and Communication grad got a high-paying central government job at the Electronics Corporation of India Limited which involved coding and testing of Electronic Voting Machines.
The work was stifling Yuva recalls, "It was in 2011 and there was too much work due to the general elections. I would spend up to 36 hours on the trot at work. That was when I realised that this job is not my cup of tea. I resigned and went on to pursue an MBA in Finance. I then got into a famous advertisement company, but the story here was no different and I would spend over 12 hours at work. Again, the work time was impacting me mentally and physically."
Soul in the air: Yuva has completed Level I and II in Aerial Yoga
After quitting his second job, he pursued a Diploma in Journalism from Bhavan's Rajendra Prasad Institute of Communication and Management in Mumbai. It did not take very long for him to realise that life in the corporate sector meant spending more time at work and meeting deadlines. That's when his friends also suggested him that to go on a sabbatical and try yoga for fitness and peace of mind. "Until I started yoga, I had not invested my time into any kind of physical exercises. Therefore when I started, my body was not flexible and could not cope physically and mentally. But I took it one step at a time," says Yuva.
After undergoing basic training in Bengaluru, he travelled to Rishikesh and some northern parts of the Himalayas to learn a traditional form of yoga called Hatha Yoga. "I have completed an advanced course in Hatha Yoga recently. Whenever I teach Hatha Yoga to students, I felt that this training was not enough for me. Hence, I got trained in Vinyasa Yoga. I believe that perfection in yoga can be attained only through practice and teaching others. The more movements you do, the more you improve and learn."
Fighter pose: Usually, Yuva teaches Warrior pose to the kids with special needs
Teaching yoga to special kids and adults
He went on to pursue a course in yoga for kids and people with special needs at Prafull Oorja. Yuva says, "This institution is among one of the very few institutions that teach yoga for people with special needs. The idea was to train special kids and adults to make their life easier. Now, I train 70 people with special needs at an organisation called Seva In Action. But it was not easy for me to train them. It took over three years to make them sit on a yoga mat. Every person here is different. It requires a lot of patience. It is my fourth year working with them and now they know to perform different postures."
Explaining how it helps kids with special needs, he says, "I teach them simple asanas which are gentle and subtle. The more these kids move, the body and mind starts responding and functioning together. There will be better blood circulation in their bodies and it strikes a balance between the right and left parts of the body. Yoga is a part of their curriculum and it also helps them remain calm."
Learn together: People with special needs at an organisation called Seva in Action trying to perform tree pose
Apart from all this, Yuva has gained mastery over Aerial Yoga and he has successfully completed level 1 and 2. In fact, he is one of those few people who was trained by an international expert called Devi Kaur. Now he is on a mission to train people in Aerial Yoga as he feels that there are fewer instructors for this particular yoga and people should understand what it is. Hence he conducts workshops on Aerial Yoga during weekends. "People feel scared when they see is performing and they say what if we fall? I say what if we can fly and not fall. This yoga helps in reducing anxiety and stress."