Indian-origin 11-year-old Ishwar Sharma from Kent, a young yoga prodigy who has been leading daily yoga classes for 40 children across 14 countries during the pandemic lockdown, has become a recipient of United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.
Inspired by his father, Ishwar took up yoga when was three years old, and is already a three-time world yoga champion. Wanting to help other children with yoga, he began hosting free online classes which were already proving a success before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, his virtual sessions have been even more vital, with Ishwar passionate about promoting both the mental and physical health benefits of practicing yoga.
“You have brought the joy of yoga to hundreds of children globally during lockdown. I was particularly inspired to hear how you have helped children with special needs enjoy the activity you enjoy and excel at,” Johnson said in a personal letter to Ishwar.
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Ishwar said he was honoured and humbled by this recognition and also spoke out about the difficulties faced by children during the pandemic.
"There have been unprecedented mental health issues amongst children due to the pandemic. I feel it is a recognition for yoga as a discipline, which helps in balancing mental and physical health. This award has motivated me to continue my endeavour to spread the message of yoga all over the world. I do hope that yoga and meditation will be included in national school curriculum in the future,” Ishwar added.
Last year, Ishwar won the Global yoga championship organised by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and donated the full prize money to a COVID charity. He has also won the British Youth Citizen Award and Global Child Prodigy award, amongst many others.