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International Yoga Day - 2016

International Yoga Day 2016 @ SBV

Organized from 19 to 21 June 2016 by the Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education and Research (CYTER), Mahatma Gandhi Medical College & Research Institute under auspices of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University, Pondicherry.

It is a great pride for every Indian that efforts of our honorable Prime Minster Shri. Narendra Modiji bore fruit and the United Nations declared June 21 as International Day of Yoga. Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University celebrated the event last year with multifaceted activities from 21 to 26 June 2015 and this year too celebrated the 2 nd International Day of Yoga with numerous events from 19 – 21 June 2016.

As per guidelines issued by UGC and Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, the International Day of Yoga 2016 was celebrated from 19-21 June 2016 at Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (Deemed University accredited with “A” grade by NAAC), Pondicherry in a grand manner. As a prelude, CYTER had also organized the SBV YOGA FEST, a two day Yoga and cultural event for medical, dental and nursing students of SBV on 25-26 May 2016 to create awareness of Yoga.

Multifaceted activities organized by CYTER from 19-21 June included a workshop on “Silver Yoga” for senior citizens, mass performance of the Common Yoga Protocol, Yogasana competitions and demonstrations and a National Seminar and CME on “Introducing Yoga in Health Professions Education”.

A public awareness programme and Workshop on “Silver Yoga” was conducted from 9 am to 12 noon on 19 June at St Patricks’ HS School in association with HelpAge India and Pondicherry Senior Citizen’s Association. More than 100 senior citizens and members of the general public participated enthusiastically in the workshop conducted by the CYTER team led by Yogachemmal Dr Meena Ramanathan. Dr Muthu, President of Puduval Tamil Sangam was the Chief Guest. Various Yoga practices for health and well-being were delineated and demonstrated for the benefit of elders in our local community. A special interactive programme was also conducted in the afternoon for elderly inmates of the Hospice of St Cluny in Pondicherry. All inmates and the caring sisters of the institution enjoyed the fun filled session and expressed their feelings of happiness and well-being after the session.

On June 20, Yogasana competitions were conducted at MGMCRI for students of all constituent colleges of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth. More than 50 students participated and demonstrated their skills in five different Yogasanas of which three were compulsory and two were of their own choice. The nursing students were especially enthusiastic and showcased great skill as they have been receiving regular training at CYTER, thanks to the efforts of the Principal and administration of the Kasturba Gandhi Nursing College.

Faculty and staff members from the medical, nursing and dental fraternity skillfully participated in a demonstration event. Top ten participants received “Best Demonstrator” awards. The daylong event was conducted with support of Pondicherry Yogasana Association and esteemed members of the jury included Yogachemmal C Shanmugam, Yogachemmal Smt Lalitha Shanmugam, Yogachemmal E Gajendiran, Yogachemmal Senthilkumar, Yogachemmal S Govindarajan and Smt Latha.

On June 21, from 6 to 8 am CYTER team as well as staff and students from SBV participated in the Mass Performance of the AYUSH Common Yoga Protocol at the Pondicherry Beach Promenade. The event was widely covered by media and was a grand success. Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani coordinated the event with Department of Tourism, Govt of Pondicherry.

From 9 am to 5.30 pm a National Seminar and CME was held at MGMCRI on “Introducing Yoga in Health Professions Education”. This event was organized by CYTER in collaboration with Department of Physiology, MGMCRI and Department of Tourism, Govt. of Puducherry. It featured invited talks, lecture demonstrations by eminent experts as well as an evocative panel discussion on “Strategies for Introducing Yoga in Health Professions Education”. This seminar is of great importance as it is imperative that medical, dental and paramedical students receive a positive introduction to Yoga and its therapeutic potential during their formative years. Latest guidelines of UGC, MCI and other councils recommend introduction of Yoga for students. Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth is one of the first to comply with these guidelines and through CYTER provides regular yoga training to medical, dental and nursing students of all the constituent colleges. The world renowned Ammaji Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani of ICYER – Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry and the eminent physiologist-yogi Prof RL Bijlani of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi sanctified the daylong event by virtue of their noble lives and service to humanity.

It began with a thought provoking talk on “Integrating Yoga & Ayurveda in clinical practice:  an experiential perspective” by Dr. Madhavan , Director of the Vivekananda Institute of Yoga Therapyin Karur, Tamil Nadu with an excellent demonstration of advanced asanas by his student Mariyayi, an International Yoga Sport Champion.

The CME was inaugurated by Ammaji in presence of Prof RL Bijlani and Mr. Mounissamy, Director of Tourism, Govt. of Puducherry. The function was presided over by Prof. N. Ananthakrishnan, Dean Research and Allied Health Sciences of SBV and felicitated by Prof Ravishankar, Dean of MGMCRI and Prof AR Srinivasan, Registrar SBV. Prof. Madanmohan, the organizing chairman welcomed everyone and honored the guests while organizing secretary Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani proposed vote of thanks. Prof. Jaiganesh and Prof Henri Balraj of Physiology Department were in charge of scientific programme and coordination with other health professional colleges. Yogachemmal Dr Meena Ramanathan was mistress of ceremonies while Yogachemmal G Dayanidy coordinated the core team from CYTER and Department of Physiology.

In her keynote address Ammaji Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Director of ICYER at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry exhorted all health professionals to first practice what they preach.”Can someone who is sick, cure the illness of another? Can someone who is miserable make others happy? Can someone who is tense teach others how to relax?” she asked. “Doctors and other health professions need to adopt a healthy way of life and the time has come" she said to add a new dimension to health professions by introducing Yoga in health professional education.

Prof Bijlani, Former Head of Physiology, AIIMS, New Delhi and presently with Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi gave an inspiring presentation on “Spirituality and modern medicine: have the twain met?” that detailed the way science and spirituality are ultimately all one and the same. He detailed the work done by pioneers in the use of the mind-body approach such as Dean Ornish, Bernie Siegel and Deepak Chopra who all have deep and intimate contact with the spiritual basis of yoga. He said that this had enabled them to interpret psycho-neuro- immunology and the mind-body relationship in a wider context.

A practical oriented session featuring simplified Yoga practices for health professionals was led by Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani who suggested that the health professionals could bring such simple Yoga techniques into their daily life and even do them in their offices while working for the welfare of humanity in the hospitals.

In the post lunch session, Mrs. Fharzana Siraj of the Orange Ray Studio, Chennai gave an educative presentation on how yoga is modified to suit each individual in the process of Yoga therapy. She illustrated the teachings of her Guru Padmavibhushan BKS Iyengar in helping so many people benefit from Yoga in his illustrious life.

A highly charged panel discussion was led by the moderator Prof BV Adkoli, professor of Health Professions Education, SBV. The panel discussed the strategies and modalities of integrating Yoga in health professions education. Members of the panel included Prof Ravishankar (Dean of Medicine), Prof Carounanidy Usha (Dean of Dental Sciences), Prof K Renuka (Dean of Nursing Sciences), Prof Madanmohan (Director CYTER & HOD, Physiology) and J Mohanakrishnan (Physiotherapist from JIPMER). Many pertinent questions were debated by the panelists regarding difficulties in this process of integration and also success stories from each faculty were illustrated in this session that had the audience totally engaged throughout.

The seminar ended with the valedictory function in which all the members of the core team were felicitated and prizes given to worthy winners in Yogasana, poster and online essay competition Categories.

Dr Meena and Sri G Dayanidy, represented CYTER and conducted a panel discussion on Importance of Yoga in Daily Life at the IDY 2016 celebrations organized by Department of Tourism and Nehru Yuva Kendra in same evening at Gandhi Tidal with many hundreds of people participating in the event.

 Recommendations from the CME on “Integrating Yoga in Health Professions Education”

1. There was a consensus that Yoga deserves a prominent place in the curriculum of all health professionals education, though further deliberations may be needed to work out the modalities of how, when and by whom it should be taught and assessed.

2. From the point of view of not burdening the existing curriculum which is already top- heavy, attempts may be made to integrate the teaching of Yoga at appropriate places in the curriculum such as foundation courses, basic sciences particularly physiology, community medicine and clinical disciplines such as physiotherapy where therapeutic benefits can be integrated.

3. Integration of Yoga studies requires a lot of efforts from the faculty across various connected disciplines which rest on training and preparation of faculty in the form of Faculty Development Programs. The existing mechanisms of faculty development should address and incorporate this issue before implementing Yoga training in a structured manner.

4. The efforts to implement Yoga require a concerted and coordinated effort in the form of inter-professional education. This requires effective leadership, team work from the faculty across various disciplines, backed by curricular changes supported by the respective councils (MCI/DCI/NCI).

5. The Seminar laid special emphasis on the fact that Yoga is holistic approach. As such, it should encompass the whole gamut of lifelong education, starting from early school stage extended up to the higher education and workplaces to embrace the entire life span.

6. The existing Centers of Yoga, especially CYTER with help from other Centers in India should take lead in initiating the process of Training of Trainers (TOT) in organizing Faculty Development Programs, with support from Government and NGOs, to speed up the process of implementation

7. It was recommended and concluded that CYTER be made a “nodal centre” to lead in activities pertaining to Health Professions Education and necessary steps be taken by the concerned authorities.