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 New Delhi, June 9: The Centre will hold the first-ever national yoga Olympiad involving schoolchildren this month as part of the International Yoga Day celebrations.

But some questioned such exercises being made the subject of such a contest and the use of “external incentives” to promote what are essentially healthy lifestyle practices.

Around 600 students – from upper primary (Class-VI to VIII) and secondary (Class-IX and X) section – from all states will take part in the June 20 event conducted by the Centre-run NCERT. The participants will be evaluated on their asanas. The Surya Namaskar, or the sun salute, has been kept optional because of its religious connotations.

NCERT sources said all states had conducted competitions in April and May. Each state will send 16 students, eight each from the upper primary and secondary stages. Half will be girls. The final will be held on June 18 and 19. HRD minister Smriti Irani will felicitate the top teams on June 20. June 21 is International Yoga Day.

But Shekhar Singh, a former St. Stephen’s professor and yoga practitioner, criticised the idea of a yoga competition. He said there could not be any rule to judge yoga as every individual was expected to perform according to his or her physical ability. “There cannot be any definition of what is the best performance of a posture. Each person may perform a posture differently.”

Singh also frowned on the awards, terming them “external incentives” and saying the best way was to promote yoga as part of healthy practices. “Tomorrow people may ask why they should take care of parents without such incentives”.

But Ishwar V. Basavaraddi, who is the director of Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in Delhi and associated with the Olympiad, said the contest was “not an individual competition”. “They will take part in teams,” he said, adding such events were being held for university students for years.

NCERT director Hrushikesh Senapati said a committee of experts had cleared the Olympiad and that its aim was to spread yoga awareness among children.#

 

Source: Now, a yoga Olympiad