Jaipur: Accompanied by their parents and teachers from schools, more than 200 students flocked to the stage during the beginner competitions of the Jaipur Yoga League.
A group of students were consistently doing backflips near the stage. When asked what are they excited about, they said, "The dance competition for Yoga will start in some time, we need to be warmed up for the same."
There was a sense of excitement and nervousness among the kids and their parents, who were cheering for their kids.
"It is a good and nervous feeling to see my kid get on the stage and perform all the aasanas of Yoga with perfection. This is the second time he is participating in the Yoga League, and this time I hope he will win," Tanu, who is accompanying her son, told The Bridge.
One of the best things that the Jaipur Yoga League has done is incentivize the sport, especially for school kids. "I am traveling with my child from Maharashtra. One of the reasons behind this is the good prize money offered by the league," Vaishali, who is coming from Maharashtra with two kids, told The Bridge.
Schools playing a key role in Yoga
Abhinav Joshi, secretary of Jaipur Yoga League, said, "With our seventh edition going on, we have created a sense of excitement among the kids. They see it as a competition where they have to win. The schools in Jaipur are taking Yoga very seriously now."
"Most of the schools in Jaipur have their teams participating here and they send it every year. When we started this league, one of our main motives was to reach the kids around us. With schools taking Yoga seriously, we are getting more participation every year," he added.
With Yoga recognised as an official sport and part of major sports events in the country, the schools have more incentive to introduce their students to Yoga.
"For schools, it becomes a matter of pride when their students achieve something at the national level. The schools have introduced Yoga as a part of learning. It is a big boost for Yoga with more kids taking it up," one of the teachers accompanying the students said.
Abhinav believes that the Jaipur Yoga League has created a robust culture in and around the city of Jaipur.
"We will start receiving more and more registrations once this tournament ends. The schools here are very serious about the league, and they take it as a matter of pride for themselves," he said.
"I think we have succeeded in creating a culture where parents and teachers understand the value of Yoga alike," he added.
Yoga for all-round development of youth
Jaipur Yoga League president Surendra Sharma believes that Yoga helps in the all-round development of youths.
"I took up Yoga quite late in my life and always thought why I did not do it in my childhood. It is really important for kids to take up Yoga as it will help them develop physically and mentally as well," he said.
"In today's world when stress is a part of life, Yoga helps you remain calm and composed," he added.
Recognised by the Sports Ministry in 2020 as a sport, Yoga is taking nascent steps in the world of sports.
"I think leagues like Jaipur Yoga League can help in popularizing the sport. More such leagues should be started in all parts of the country," Arjun, who is a yoga enthusiast from Gujarat, said.
With more than 550 participants coming from 11 states of the country and more than 200 of them being kids, the Jaipur Yoga League has certainly taken a giant stride in developing the sport into an attractive one.