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Shivansh, an active 4 and half years old boy, broke my reverie while I was immersed in ‘Aum Chanting’, during the four-day Himalayan Retreat. My eyes opened to a distinctive, unique and effective mode of correcting a child’s behavior.
Punishing a child to alter his or her behavior is pretty common amongst all parents. We all have experienced it while growing up and have also administered it to our children. The manner of punishment might have changed but the crux of it still remains constant – a ‘negative connotation’ focused on ‘behavioral modification.’ This perception of only a negative form of punishment, in correcting an atrocious conduct of children was completely obliterated from my mind when I was privy to this new form of retribution and I am sure you too would feel the same by the end of the article.
The tranquility and serenity in the beautiful environment of the Himalayas had completely embraced me into its folds. The 20-minute ‘Aum Chanting’, with ‘Sectional and Yogic Breathing’ had transported me to a sublime realm of peacefulness. As I opened my eyes to get the participants into asana practice, the first thing I noticed was Shivansh – sitting on the stage just behind me, oscillating rhythmically while chanting ‘AUM’, seemed to have gone in deep sleep. The palms still remained intact in ‘Namaskar Mudra’ and ‘Aum Chanting’ continued to maintain the same rhythm and the the firmness. It is important to mention here that Shivansh had been chanting unfailingly from the time session started.
Shivansh is an active child and like all smart kids, needs constant engagement and attention from the moment he wakes up to when he sleeps off. As kids his age have different tantrums on different subjects; to handle that tactfully, the parents have come to an understanding with Shivansh, with a list of strictures, to be followed by him in case of undesirable behaviour from him. The purpose explained to him was – ‘If you do one bad thing, you have to do one good thing’ – pretty much in line with the concept of ‘Pratipakshbhavana’ in Yoga.
Every time, a childish tantrum is thrown, Shivansh is asked to sit in a place and chant ‘AUM’ at least 108 times, in namaste mudra. He does so without complaining and with a sweet beautiful smile on his face. This started when he was just 3 years old. It must have started off as a lark but is so much more now. Every time a tantrum was thrown, he would be gently requested to sit and follow the correctional protocol. The impact of this practice could be easily noticed. I saw the transformation in the boy; he always emerged a refreshed and calmer child post the chanting. At times, he slept off into a deep uninterrupted sleep and woke up feeling rejuvenated.
This example has made me question our negative connotation of punishing a child. If we all can adopt this methodology, which has its genesis in our heritage, our future generation will grow up to be the epitome of humanity.
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Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.
2 thoughts on “Unique Yogic Punishment”
Completely agree with you. Tantrums should never be overlooked, nor made hue n cry about. Indeed our ancient practices have great insight on what you have mentioned, especially when we find kids like Shivansh feeling fresh n rejuvinated on engaging innthis beautiful chanting. Calms down nervous over indulgence. Useful post for parents of any age group kids. But, starting early is better.
I shall certainly share it with the parents and teachers.
Thanks so much for your view. It is really important to start early so that they know from the very beginning that this is the only concept of behavioural correction and there is no hue and cry at all..