Heavy rains and ongoing exams prevented most city schools from holding mass yoga session on Wednesday. State education minister Vinod Tawde had asked schools to observe Yoga Day on the 21st of every month. However, school managements said it was impractical to hold such activities every month.
In a circular issued on June 8, the state school education department asked schools to organise yoga programmes on the 21st of every month (other than Sundays) and not just on the International Yoga Day on June 21. The circular was issued after Tawde said yoga should become a year-long activity, instead of a daylong celebration.
After the schools failed to do the needful for the last two months, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yog Samiti volunteered to conduct the activity. Last month, the education department asked the schools to cooperate with Yog Samiti.
However, city schools affiliated with the CBSE board are busy holding the first summative assessments owing to which they couldn’t observe the Yoga Day.
“Exams are going on in the school. How can the department suddenly ask us to hold yoga programmes?” said Deepshikha Srivastava, principal, Rajhans Vidyalaya, Andheri (West). She added they usually hold yoga classes every day. “It is a part of our timetable.”
Besides, the downpour on Wednesday prevented other schools from conducting the mass programme. “We made students do a few asanas in the classroom, it was not possible to use the school ground,” said Sudha Nair, principal, Vile Parle Mahila Sangh School.
Others pointed out that it is impossible to hold such programmes every month. “I understand the need to promote yoga among youngsters, but schools should be allowed to do it their way,” said Rakesh Joshi, principal, Apeejay School, Nerul.
Only a handful of schools in Kandivli, Borivli, Kalyan and Bhiwandi were able to observe the Yoga Day.“We partnered with the schools and taught them exercises like pranayam and memory boosting techniques,” said Jyotsna Desai, who manages the education wing of the Yog Samiti.
About Yoga Day
The state and centre have been insisting on practising yoga in schools since last year after the United Nations adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as Yoga Day. Last month, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) made yoga and surya namaskar compulsory across all civic schools. The Bombay high court also upheld this decision saying that yoga is just a form of exercise which is good for the body, when an activist challenged the civic body’s order.