Dubai kids learn the ‘Art of Living’

DUBAI — Children in Dubai are also turning to ‘Art of Living’ to calm their nerves, handle peer pressure and deal with school-related stress. The foundation, whose techniques have touched the lives of many adults, has now children as young as eight attending its classes.

By Preeti Kannan

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Published: Sun 7 Oct 2007, 9:01 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:46 AM

More than 30 kids from different schools meet every Saturday morning for about four hours to meditate, do yogasanas (postures) and perfect the Sudarshan Kriyas (breathing techniques) to get rid of fear, depression, anxieties and stress. Aged between eight and 14 years, they come to the Art of Living Foundation’s The Art Excel Kids Club week after week out of their own choice.

The action-packed session has children playing guitar, staging skits, learning painting and indulging in other fun-filled activities. The children say the ‘kriyas’ and yogasanas have changed their lives in small but effective ways.

“Earlier I used to feel bullied by older people. For instance, boys from higher classes would come and take over the basketball court while we were playing. Initially, it used to upset me and I used to walk away dejected. But then regular practice of the kriyas has made me a lot calmer and taught me to tackle the situation. I went up to them one day and spoke to them nicely. Surprisingly, they handed over the ball and left the court,” says Nikhil Rao, a Grade VI student of International School of Choueifat, Dubai.

Eleven-year-old Kanika also says the course has brought about changes in her attitude. “I am a class monitor. I used to think that my classmates would listen to me only if I raise my voice by being harsh. They stopped liking me. However, I learnt, from the sessions, that I must put across my message nicely. Now their behaviour towards me has dramatically changed,” says the Grade VI student from Our Own English High School.

Parents have also noticed the changes in their children, especially in kids who are hyperactive and restless. They find their children a lot calmer and healthier these days. “My son, Rahul, used to suffer from a respiratory problem and fell ill almost every week. But, the breathing exercises have had a positive effect on his health. Since he joined the course in April, he has not been sick even once,” says mother Reshma Mulani.

Children in the UAE do not have much physical activities, says Art Excel teacher Jaya Bhatnagar. Regular practice of yoga helps them to keep themselves fit and free from diseases, she says.

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