Swati Prusty, a student of D.A.V. Girls Senior Secondary School, Gopalapuram, says, “I couldn’t ask for anything more!” Having been just expecting a ‘good’ result, learning that she is the national topper with a total of 490/500, came as a surprise.

“Preparing for exams was no rocket science. I just worked hard and managed my time well. Also it helps to have great teachers who are like second parents to us. They train you well and are more tensed when you are doing your exams,” she says. Swati is also thankful for her parents’ moral support and God’s grace. The regular Yoga practice in school also helped in relaxing the mind, she adds.

Aiming for IIMs, this future Chemical Engineer, asks students to prepare right from the beginning of the year. “And don’t cut your cable connection. Watch a lot of movies,” she suggests as a way to relax during the stressful study period. Ask her for tips and Swati swears by hard work and time management.

In her own words

My joining DAV Girls Senior Secondary School proved not only an introduction to a new institution, a new world but also marked my introduction to Yoga. I had heard about yoga, it being very good for health, mind and that it should be practiced only after being taught by a qualified yoga instructor. So this was my opportunity to experience and experiment with yoga.

In 11th standard, we did not have specific periods allotted for yoga but we did have them now & then. I remember the asanas – Tadasana, Triyak tadasana and kati Chakrasana being the first ones we learnt. They were A-B-C of Yoga(and later went on to become few of my favourite asanas). My first experience of yoga nidra was when a guru from Australia visited our school and we had a session under his instructions. We also had short assemblies before exams where we did Nadi Shodhan and other breathing exercises to calm down and avoid last minute jitters and tensions.

Yoga classes started as ‘full fledged classes’(i.e. they found a way into our time table, as classes twice a week) in Standard 12. This brought about a degree of regularity in the practice of Yoga by us, students, which was absent in 11th standard. I think it was a very good step by the school to introduce yoga within school hours instead of conducting them after school which may have inconvenienced many children. It was a measure to make students understand the power of yoga and its effectiveness during the very stressful times of the final year of schooling with lots of tests, preparations for board exam and entrance exams following them. In these classes we realized that flexing ones arms and legs , just as a form of exercise was not all that yoga was made of (as we are often made to believe). It consisted of pranayama, mantra japa, asanas and much more. It was a way of understanding the physical and most importantly the spiritual state of one’s mind and body.

The 45 minutes of time allotted was well divided to the various forms of yoga – it starts with preparation of mind and body for yoga and chanting of ‘Om with Shanti Mantra’ followed by asanas, yoga nidra and breathing exercises at the end. I used to look forward to the yoga classes held at the end of the day; it was a good break from the daily lessons. The school extended the use of its premises for interested parents to learn yoga in the form of evening classes so that the parents are well aware of its benefits for their children.

My honest and frank opinion about yoga? My favourite part of yoga is the asanas. I like Surya Namaskar the most. I feel very energetic and vitalized after practice. (A good way to shake oneself off sleep after one wakes up in the morning) I have always looked at these practices from an exercise point of view and am happy to make them as part of my life as they provide some level of exercise in the sedentary and stressful lives we are living. I like yoga nidra too; the feeling after the practice is most relaxing and peaceful. I have adopted chanting the 3 powerful mantras- The Gayatri Mantra, The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and the Durga Mantra. I enjoy the feeling of vibrations after the japa. I also feel very relaxed after nadi shodhana pranayama.

I have tried to do the various practices as sincerely and regularly as possible. Yoga with all its goodness also has a quiet mystery associated with it. Our yoga teachers have always told us to observe any changes in our body immediately adter we do any exercise and I have tried to do that sincerely too. Sometimes I have experienced changes, sometimes not. I do not know if I have experienced the right kind of changes or if we are expected to experience expected to experience a particular kind of change. Soes no change mean that I have not done the practice the right way? I do not know. But our yoga teachers have always assured us that every kind of change or even no change is all right. I feel I need to go a long way to understand and comprehend the benefits regular yoga practices. I feel this short duration of my association with Yoga has made some improvement in my overall health and temperament in life

This encourages me to continue with yoga. Positive results are guaranteed, I feel good about myself, elated and this is reason enough for me to continue. I hope that with regular practice I will be able to experience the far reaching effects of yoga in life. Till then, my faith in yoga persists.

I got this opportunity through our school. I feel other students should get this opportunity so that Yoga can made a difference in their life.