With Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s recent advisory highlighting this nation’s growing youth mental health crisis, two young San Jose, California, Indian American students—a sister and brother–are sharing how they have managed their mental and physical health throughout the pandemic through the almost daily practice of yoga. This has helped them increase their strength and flexibility, in addition to helping them find peace, calm, and reduce stress during a difficult time, according to an email to India-West.
Kushi Hosahalli, 13, who attends Challenger School and holds trophies in karate and dance, says that “practicing yoga helps me stay focused, concentrated, and calm, when things are very stressful. I can tell its positive effects on my mental health, and it helps with school productivity, especially in getting through school projects and maintaining stamina throughout each day. Even 30 minutes of yoga gives me a great break, and helps reset my mind.”
Echoes her 10-year-old brother Aditya Hosahalli, also a Challenger School student holding trophies in karate and dance, “yoga gives me flexibility and relieves stress. I feel very good afterwards; it really helps with my concentration. And the eye exercises have also helped improve my vision.”
When the pandemic closed down all in-person learning, including the venues where they studied dance, karate, and where Kushi pursued in-studio yoga lessons, both kids became stranded at home and boredom quickly ensued. That’s when their mother Veena started looking for online yoga platforms that were offering daily classes, and found Cupertino-based MyYogaTeacher, which offers live online classes for groups and individuals. MyYogaTeacher classes are not pre-recorded, so the instructors see and hear their students thanks to Zoom, and provide real time feedback, guidance, and mentorship, noted the email.
Kushi started with the group yoga class for kids and quickly upped her yoga practice to 5 days a week. She also invited friends to the online group classes, and everyone had fun. The teen moved from doing group classes to private lessons, to improve specific things like flexibility, arm and core strength. Working 1 on 1, her virtual teacher began to challenge her with more complex balance poses outdoors, first on the monkey bars, and then in other settings.
Her brother, seeing how much his sister was enjoying the online classes during the pandemic, started to attend yoga classes as well. Aditya says, “I was inspired by my sister’s calmness and energetic levels throughout the day.”
Both kids continued practicing 5 days a week even as things started to reopen and they returned to in-person school. Because both feel strongly about yoga’s health benefits, they practice both physical poses (“asanas”) during the day and meditation combined with eye exercises before bedtime, guided by their virtual teachers. Veena said she is convinced that this daily practice of yoga has helped them power through very long days without getting tired, and even helped her kids improve their memory, concentration, and overall productivity.