Published: 21st June 2021
Yoga Day: Meet child yoga prodigy Harsha Nivetha who is all set to talk about the importance of yoga on Nickelodeon on June 21
This International Yoga Day, we spoke to yoga prodigy Harsha Nivetha who had broken the Guinness World Record for holding the Utthita Padmasana for 174 minutes in December 2017
Harsha Nivetha's tryst with yoga began when she was just three and a half years old and had a slew of low immunity issues, leading to her catching a cold every now and then. That's when her mother enrolled her in a regular yoga class. There has been no looking back since for the 14-year-old yoga prodigy. Nivetha entered the Guinness Book of World Records at the age of 10, in 2017, after she performed a yoga pose that she held for 174 seconds. Hailing from the Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, she attempted the record at her school, where she balanced herself in the Utthita Padmasana posture for nearly three minutes. She broke the previous record that was held by an American woman who held the same pose for 90 seconds. Later in 2018, her record had also been broken by a kid from Madurai.
This year, Nivetha has been chosen for an International Yoga Day campaign by Nickelodeon where she will be speaking about the importance of yoga and ways to inculcate the habit of practising it regularly, especially among children. A student at the PS Chidambara Nadar Senior English School, Nivetha began taking part in competitions and events when she was five years old. She has even also won several accolades in district-, state- and national-level competitions over the years. Nivetha believes that while regular exercises are meant to keep the body fit and healthy, yoga helps you improve from within. "It helps with the proper functioning of your organs, improves immunity, helps you concentrate and does a lot of other things," she says.
Speaking about her favourite yoga asana, it doesn't come as a surprise when Nivetha tells us that it is the scale pose, yes, the very pose she won her Guinness record for. "The scale pose is a hand-balancing pose. It's called Tulasana in Sanskrit. It is also called Utthita Padmasana. The asana helps to strengthen the wrists, arms and abdomen, improves your sense of balance and calms your mind. However, Tulasana isn’t recommended for those who aren’t able to perform Padmasana comfortably," explains Nivetha.
Nivetha practises yoga regularly, at least two to three hours a day. She encourages other children of her age to start early as well and shares, "It is beneficial not just for your body, but also for your mind. It will improve emotional and mental well-being. Yoga boosts a child's self-esteem and in terms of the body, it improves balance and flexibility. Yoga also enhances children's cognitive memory power and increases retaining ability. If you practise yoga, you will gain concentration. It also teaches us discipline."