Yoga Championship

Shruthi Kumar, 16, seen here with International Yoga Sports Federation founder Rjashree Choudhury, became the first Indian American to represent Team USA at the World Championship of Yoga Sports. (photo provided)

Shruthi Kumar, a 16-year-old yogi from Omaha, Nebraska, has become the first Indian American to represent Team USA at the 2018 World Championship of Yoga Sports.

The four-day world championships were held in Beijing, China, recently, according to a news release.

Kumar realized her love for yoga and meditation at an early age, getting involved in the USA Yoga Sports Federation this past year, and advancing through the levels of competition to make it to the 2018 World Championships of Yoga Sports.

To get there, Kumar took third at the USA Yoga Nationals, earning a qualified entry into the international games during her first year in competition. Not only had she qualified, but she had become the first Indian American to represent Team USA at the World Cup, according to the release.

The teenager takes great pride in her Indian culture and was honored to represent the United States as an Indian, it said.

She has been practicing Kundalini yoga and meditation since she was in first standard at the Universal Peace Foundation of North America. At the age of 15, Kumar traveled to the headquarters of UPFNA in Tamil Nadu, India, to complete her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification.

After attaining her certification, she returned to the United States to teach yoga to children and school students, it said. 

Kumar is passionate about improving the mental health of students through meditation, so this year she founded a non-profit organization called GoYogi that integrates mindfulness meditation practices in the school curriculum, said the release.

Currently, the program is being used for all 800 students and staff at Marian High School in Nebraska, where they practice meditation every day before starting school.

This program has also been implemented at a school for low-income students in India called Udavum Karangal, where around 900 students practice meditation before the school day.

She is continuously working to take this program to people of all walks of life and help students experience the benefits of meditation in their own lives. 

Kumar loves to connect with youth and empower students to be their best. Her involvement in yoga and meditation as inspired many to pursue a healthy lifestyle, and with her international title from the World Championships of Yoga Sports, she hopes to inspire many more, the release said.

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