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Murga posture and ear pulling or touching postures are great cross-lateral exercises; don't use them to punish children!
I thought of redeeming these yoga poses by writing their significance and making a case against their use as punishment in interior villages of Haryana and Punjab, on receiving the pictures of children being tortured through "murga punishment" and girls being shamed through cross-ear pulling along with the comment: "Yoga of our times! Keeping us fit even today!"

In one's childhood, yoga postures should not be practiced for long spells and asanas are to be maintained for very short duration. My experience of working with children informs that they need to practice 3 appropriately selected yoga postures at a time for a month for at least 15 minutes daily to get results.

It has been suggested ( that on a general basis, one needs to hold the yoga poses or postures for about 10-12 breaths to begin with. Then, with practice, one can also go up to 30 breaths. Further, the best breath time depends on one's capacity of deep inhalation followed by complete exhalation. However, the timing has to be personalised for each child to begin with.

During teacher training sessions, experience had been that a 30-minute yoga session with 3 yoga postures at a time should have the three stages, i.e., demonstration-cum-explanation stage; guided practice stage; and individual practice phase.

The proper conduct of yoga sessions makes students self-regulated and self-disciplined, it has been found.

It has been rightly said by many wise teachers that there are no problem-children; rather, there are problem-teachers in schools that don't teach students in self-development and self-management skills but tend to drive students through punishment.

Unfortunately, bad teachers use ear-holding and murga posture as punishment tools for shaming and torturing students in many South-Asian countries by making students to stay in that posture for very long periods causing almost unbearable pain.

In fact, ear(s) holding/pulling and murga posture when done in a child-friendly social environment by a wise-teacher for a time-interval of 10 breaths; they are great cross-lateral exercises for hemispheric integration of the brain. Some studies suggest that cross-lateral exercises even improve academic skills due to improved coordination through 'brain education'.

Moreover, yoga practice should be child-centric since there is diversity among children in terms their age, abilities and nature. There is a need to make a paradigm shift from the yoga-centricity of the child to the child-centricity of the yoga, I strongly feel.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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