Meet the yoga kid

A Bengaluru teen is changing the concept of yoga among the young.
Yashwanth showing off his yoga skills;
Yashwanth showing off his yoga skills;

Five-year-old Yashwanth A from Bengaluru couldn’t care less about academics. His teachers would often complain about his lack of interest. In an effort to help him focus better, his parents enrolled him for music classes. But in vain. Not ones to give up, his parents next zeroed in on yoga. “I didn’t like it initially either but when I saw Dr Rajkumar’s yoga stunts in the film Kaamana Billu, I was inspired,” says the now 15-year-old Yashwanth. Today, this Rashtriya Karnataka Ratna Award 2021-recipient has been recognised for his contribution in the field of yoga and social service.

his awards corner
his awards corner

The teen, who has mastered around 5,000 asanas, believes he has become a better version of himself because of yoga. He is one of the top performers in his school today. He has also won the All-rounder award from his school—Treamis World School—for his excellence in academics, sports, and other extra-curricular activities consecutively in 2019 and 2020. Acknowledging the rewards that come his way, Yashwanth says that he owes it to the support of his friends, family and teachers.

His classmates diligently copy notes for him when he has to miss school because of international competitions. They email the notes to Yashwanth, who is often seen going through them while waiting at international airports to board his flight. An expert at doing hand-balance and back-bending asanas, he’s often invited by IT professionals to demonstrate simple asanas that they can do for relaxation during their breaks. Keen to give back to society, he has also started educating students at government schools about yoga and also teaches some simple asanas to patients in cancer hospitals, besides helping prisoners at Bangalore Central Prison de-stress through yoga.

An aspiring cricketer and a huge Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL team) fan, Yashwanth also conducted Facebook live sessions during the lockdown. “We should understand that academics are not everything. It is, of course, important but we should pursue what we love,” he says. In fact, his passion has also infected his younger brother Shashwat and his entire family who have become regular yoga practitioners. He won his first medal when he participated in an annual state-level competition at Puducherry. Bagging the third position in the contest inspired him to practice more and get to the top the following year.

Today his awards tally stands at 65 trophies, 86 medals and 126 certificates, as he flies around the globe representing India at international competitions—from China, Malaysia, and Thailand to Argentina, Hong Kong, and Europe. The Class IX student received the prestigious Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Award from the Government of Karnataka in September 2018. Having met the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he was also gearing up to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi—an ardent yoga enthusiast himself; but the pandemic has put those plans on hold. One hopes the new year gives him the chance to realise his incomplete dreams.

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The New Indian Express