Moral Education and Yoga

yoga and moral science

Shri Veerendra heggade, akin most thinkers, educational practitioners, and parents acknowledge the fact that children are born with a societal unalignment and need the care and guidance of adults into their teenage and often beyond. Moral education aids children acquire those virtues that contribute not only to the students as individuals, but also to the social cohesion of a well knit community.

To flourish the development further, Yoga gives us relief from countless ailments, strengthens the body and creates a feeling of well being. From the psychological viewpoint, yoga sharpens the intellect and aid in concentration; it steadies the emotions and encourages people to live a harmonious life.

The desire to excel comes to the fore when one is faced with competition. To constantly fuel interest in Yoga and foster the spirit of competitiveness amongst those who have undergone training under the project, an annual district level Shaikshanika Yoga Sammelana (Educational Yoga Conference) is held. Students are handpicked from schools in each taluk and each school deems it an honor to sponsor participants in this annual event.

This is an association of community elders and teachers that has been established with the aim of inculcating better values in society. This activity is normally conducted during the school vacations in September – October and April – May. Teachers from various schools are formed into groups and fan out to conduct yoga awareness and practice sessions. The Sangama typically covers:

  • Workshops on Yoga related art forms for the general public.
  • Yoga and Personality Development for Children.
  • Yoga and Nature Cure for general public.
  • 10 Camps conducted till now have received overwhelming response

The beneficial effects of the Surya Namaskara have been enumerated in our ancient texts but few people practice this simple yet beneficial exercise. Shri Heggade with his now tested formula of using teachers for tested dissemination, launched this programme in 1995

In his pursuit of all things material, man loses sight of the most important and valuable asset God gave him – mental peace and happiness. Perhaps Shri Heggade in his farsightedness realized the need to ensure that the people he had released from the bonds of poverty and helplessness should not lose themselves in pursuit of materialistic mirages.

Keeping this in mind, he laid the foundation for the SDM Yoga and Moral Education Project in 1990 amidst serene sylvan surroundings of Shantivana. Shri Heggade chose the ancient system of Yoga as the vehicle for bringing about a change in the psyche of people. He personally chose one of the most experienced Master in Yoga, who shared his zeal and enthusiasm to promote Yoga as a part of everyday life. A small start was made by selecting 275 school teachers from undivided Dakshina Kannada district who were equally inspired and motivated by the project. Today (24/06/2017) there are 4,866 trained teachers in Yoga. Masters of Yogic Arts imparted the principles and practices of Yoga in a sound and scientific method. They were empowered with the nuances of this beautiful science to answer any questions their students would ever ask. Each of these teachers was asked to train 100 students in their school. What transpired was a ripple effect that encompassed in its fold 6,75,000 students who regularly practice yoga and meditation in their daily life.

The initial success of the Project brought about the realization that a systematic approach and carefully thought out syllabus would prove beneficial to both the teacher and the taught. Named aptly as the Panchamukhi Personality Development this Programme dwells on:

  • Physical development through Surya Namaskar, relaxing exercises and motivational games.
  • Mental development through pranayama, relaxation techniques and games for improvement of mental skills
  • Intellectual development through ‘Swadhyaya’ (Self Study) by reading books authored by masters in metaphysics for intellectual growth
  • Emotional development through satsang, prayers, meditation, service to others and actively participating in cultural meets
  • Spiritual and moral development through yama & niyama, reading stories and articles about great spiritual leaders, composing and singing devotional songs and listening to ‘Harikathas’ (musical narration)of India’s ancient spiritual masters.

Teachers who have followed this syllabus have realized that their personalities and abilities have undergone a remarkable change for the better. Students exposed to the syllabus have shown amazing improvement in their studies and conduct in society

As part of the project, regular Yogothsavas (Yoga Festivals) are conducted in each of the eight taluks of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Nearly 700 to 1000 volunteers participate in these events. Samuhika Abhyas (Mass Yoga Practice) is an important part of the yogothsava. Watching such a large group synchronously practicing the Asanas is like watching poetry in motion.

Talking of children, Shri Heggade realized that moulding mind and body while the children are young is very important , especially in the context of living a pure, clean and healthy life. He realized that painting helps a lot in developing a focused mind. To encourage painting among school children, he came up with a unique concept in 1999.

This involved painting on a postcard (Anche) with colours and brush (Kuncha) on a specific theme given by the school authorities. The postcards were later entered into a competition. The selected postcards were awarded attractive prizes. In the first year when “Rashtra Purusha” was chosen as a theme, over 12000 children participated. Over the years the number of children participants has grown exponentially. The very best paintings are enlarged and displayed at district level exhibitions.

To ensure that children should not forget the values that our culture has cherished over the centuries, Shri Heggade launched the publication of books dedicated to great spiritual, mythological and historical personalities. However, the purpose this exercise will not be achieved by just publishing books. To ensure that they are not left unread, teachers are encouraged to familiarize themselves first. They then distribute these beautiful books among the children with the caution that they will be expected to participate in competitions based on the contents of the books. The enthusiasm from this great movement is reflected in the fact that over 6,62,000 students have participated in these competitions so far.

To propagate Naturopathy, Yoga and Moral Education, 4,296 Teachers of High Schools and Primary Schools were trained. Teachers in turn train more than 4 Lakh students every year in Yoga, Moral and Spiritual Education. 12,75,000 books distributed to Students in 12 district till now.