It’s an age-old saying that when you don’t have one of your senses, the others are exponentially heightened. One such example of this adage would be the amazing kids from Delhi-based Yoga Artist Group — a group of visually impaired students who perform acrobatic yoga under the training of Hemant Sharma, a social activist and a yoga teacher.
When Sharma started teaching the children four years ago, he was expecting them to take time learning the postures. He was in for a surprise, however. “The concentration levels in these students are higher than regular students, who naturally tend to be distracted by so many other things. So, they learned the postures faster than I thought they would,” says Sharma.
His approach towards teaching the students was never apprehensive. “If people with no disability could learn, then these students could as well,” he was convinced. This inspiring set of children has won many accolades over the years. From the first National Disability Excellence Award and securing the first position in MTNL’s Perfect Health Mela, they went on to win the overall championship trophy in the first Yoga Champ Scavenge, among many others.
Although the students learnt faster than he thought, they faced certain difficulties in the initial days of training, owing to their impairment. “The students learnt by feeling my yoga posture with their hands and then subsequently replicating the posture,” Sharma said. The students have learnt these postures so well that they do not have to do that any more, and only need verbal instructions now. Most importantly, the training has made the students independent of a walking stick.
“They move around confidently now, just like we do,” Sharma said. The students have also participated in the Doordarshan show — Meri Awaz Suno.
Sharma, who is a yoga teacher in SD Public School in Pitam Pura, Delhi, has been teaching the students with the help of an NGO called Akhil Bhartiya Netrahin Sangh in Raghubir Nagar. He has also started to teach acrobatic yoga to mentally challenged children.
The students continue to prove that no disability is a barrier big enough to stop them from chasing their dreams.