8. Use In Schools (The Ten Point Way to Health)
Use In Schools
“The Ten Point Way to Health (Surya Namaskars)
Shrimant Balasahib Pandit Pratinidhi (B.A.) Rajah of Aundh
Edited with an introduction by Louise Morgan
First Published: 1938
We have been fortunate enough to convince our people at Aundh of the usefulness of physical education in general and of the Surya Namaskars in particular, and they have taken to them with such enthusiasm as to demand a state regulation to make Surya Namaskars compulsory in all the schools.
It is our dearest wish that the students of our schools should extend the benefits of the system not only their families, but to all with whom they come in contact.
Should our dream be realized, there will be seen within the short space of five or ten years a vast improvement in the health, strength, and spirit of those who attend school and college. We will not, however, be fully satisfied if the health of our boys only is improved, because Society requires that the health of our girls-the mothers of the race-should be improved even before that of the boys.
One of the chief merits of Surya Namaskars is that it can be adapted to group or mass exercise. Under proper supervision, hundreds of students-boys and girls-can be made to take this exercise simultaneously, thus affording the double advantage of efficiency and economy of time. The students may be grouped according to age, height, or capacity.
We are convinced from our experience of group exercises performed in all the primary and middle schools as well as in the high school of the Aundh State for the past twelve years, that Surya Namaskars are the ideal exercise for use in large groups.
It is hardly necessary to observe that the daily practice of Surya Namaskars, far from interfering with any game or pastime requiring physical exertion, actually adds to the enjoyment of it.
We are not opposed to outdoor games, sports, or gymnastics. Far from it ! The main point we want to emphasize is that, combined with the pursuit of any sport or game, there must be a daily exercise like Surya Namaskars, which can be done singly or en masse all the year round in order to lay a real and lasting foundation of health and strength. For this exercise puts one in condition to take part in any sport or athletics requiring strength and endurance.
A systematic daily performance of Surya Namaskars forms a basis for all other bodily activities, because it is found to give in a marked degree the power of control over body and mind and the capacity to use one’s strength to the best advantage in games and sports, especially those which require prolonged exertion, without injurious results. It minimizes the risk of overstrain, especially of the heart.
Normal all-round health, acquired by the daily performance of Surya Namaskars, will enable children to render a better account of themselves not only in any sport or game but in everyday life as well.
The experience of two schoolmasters bears out what we have said. We give their own account below.
THE EXPERIENCE OF MR SHANKAR HARI JAVDEKAR, HEAD MASTER, MARATHI SCHOOL, INDAPUR, POONA, DISTRICT
In the month of May 1925, stomach ache began to afflict me daily at about two o’clock in the afternoon. The pain gradually increased to such a pitch that despite the varied treatment of doctors and physicians at Indapur, I felt as though several scorpions were stinging me in the stomach . Then I went to Poona, where I placed myself under the treatment of a well-known medical practi-tioner for ten days. There was slight relief, but the pain persisted.
I returned home to Indapur and continued to take medicine and follow a regimen as prescribed by the Poona doctor, but all in vain. The thought that the discase might permanently sap my energy and constitution had taken the heart out of me, when the book on Surya Namaskars by the Chief of Aundh came to hand. A careful perusal of the book induced me to try the Namaskar exercise for relief. I did try and was able to do fifty Namaskars within a week, as I had already done a great deal of gymnastic work.
The wonderful alleviation of my disease, brought about by the exercise within so short a time, encouraged me to continue. I gradually increased the number of Namaskars to two hundred, when all pain vanished and I was restored to health. I was very happy to find that Surya Namaskars achieved what all medical treatments and other exercises failed to do. I have since then been a staunch adherent of Surya Namaskars.
Having been thus convinced of the thera-pcutie and prophylactic value of the Namaskar exercise, I wished that all my assistant teachers and pupils should also profit by practicing this wonderfully efficient exercise.
I accordingly convened a public meeting, consisting of teachers, students, and a large number of townsfolk, and delivered a lecture on the necessity and importance of Surya Namaskars for keeping one always fit and healthy. The lecture proved so effective that all the teachers and students agreed with one voice to do the Namaskars in the school every day during school time. The public, too, were so favourably impressed that they immediately subscribed towards a fund necessary to erect a spacious and convenient hall for doing this exercise.
The hall was soon built to the delight of us all. As many as hundred and fifty students are now taking this Namaskar exercise simultaneously in this hall under my direction.
Another idea soon struck me : I wished to find by actual comparison if Jors and Baitbaks, systems of Indian gymnastics, if daily and methodically practiced, would produce the same results. I therefore made two batches, each consisting of twenty-five boys of almost the same age, strength, stature, and circumstances. Their individual measurements and weights were recorded in a register specially kept for the purpose, before cach batch commended its own form of exercise.
The same period of time was allotted to both the parties to do their respective exercises. Twelve month’s regular practice conducted under my personal supervision proved the decided superiority of Surya Namaskars over Jors and Baithaks.
THE EXPERIENCE OF MR G.K. GOKHALE, M.A.,
SUPERINTENDENT, NEW ENGLISH SCHOOL,
HUBLI, DHARWAR DISTRICT
Having decided to give a trial to Surya Namaskars I came to Aundh from Hubli and put myself in the hands of an expert in Surya Namaskars, who is also a great enthusiast. I took my first lesson on the 13th October 1928, and it required four or five days for e to learn the movememts. I was doing only half a dozen Namaskars daily as my body was stiff and the various muscles were put to a considerable strain in doing even such a small number of Namaskars. But gradually they appeared easier to do and in a few days I could complete twelve Namaskars almost according to the rules laid down. I could increase by about six Namaskars every half week or so. To my great surprise, on the seventeenth day of my training, I could do fifty Namaskars without being particularly fatigued or feeling out of breath. This I consider to be a great merit of the mantras and hymns, which are so graduated that the period of rest due to their recitation
goes on lengthening as the Namaskars go on increasing in number. If the length of the mantras for the first twelve Namaskars be supposed to be one unit the length of the mantras for the next six Namaskars is two units; for the next three it is twelve units; so that you feel quite fresh by the time you have finished the first cycle of twenty-four of twenty-five Namaskars.
I can assure all those who may be thinking of taking this Namaskar exercise that it is easy to learn and quite safe, as it does not put any undue strain or do any injury to any muscles or organs of the body. To do the movements exactly according to the rules prescribed would involve such a strain, but the beginner is not expected to aim so high; it is better for him to attain perfection gradually. In fact, some of the positions are so hard that they can only be done perfectly after months of practice.
Even with the little practice I have had I am beginning to feel the beneficial effects of the exercise. The extra fat on my abdomen is vanishing and my chest seems to be expanding. The constipative tendency, which had so far appeared natural and inseparable from me, seems within control, and I am feeling more buoyant and energetic.
8. Use In Schools (The Ten Point Way to Health)
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