We’re in Sydney, Australia – the nation’s busiest, most densely populated city. Airplanes yelling their metallic-mouthed roars overhead, cars caught in traffic, people rushing out their front doors, to work, from one appointment to the next … Everything is fast-paced and hectic. There isn’t enough time, and no one’s getting enough sleep. Especially now.

In perhaps the most difficult year of our lives, none feel this stress and unsettled energy more than our children. It’s a need that Niv Rajendra answers with her yoga practice, with two different sets of yoga lessons specifically developed for teenagers and for children below the age of 12.

Niv describes how yoga has always been more than just a physical practice for her. “Yoga is a connectedness,” she says. “It finds expression through conscious movement and being present in one’s own body; but it is also about discipline, patience, and listening deeply to yourself, and also to your surroundings. It is an everyday way of being.”

With younger-aged children, she works on building skills for focus, but also relaxation. “It’s important for their brains to be able to switch off,” Niv says, discussing how the lives of children and young people these days are so highly stimulated. Using movement, Niv helps the children in her workshops to develop physical coordination, flexibility, and strength in ways that also promote mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. Everything is connected.

With teenagers, Niv looks at developing conscious spaces of safety, support, and inclusion. In these workshops, engaging in mindful movement is an avenue into having conversations about self-love, body positivity, and mental health. “There is no competition,” she explains –  “everyone is welcome.” Learning, developing, and growing together.

Speaking to Niv is a peaceful and calming experience all on its own. Born in Sydney, her family moved back to New Delhi when she was eight. She lived there into her late teens, moving back and forth to the coastal city of Mangalore to spend time with her grandparents. It was in those alternately bustling and beautiful cities where Niv first began her relationship with yoga. “I was surrounded by it,” she says.

The convergence of a return visit here to see her sister and travel restrictions created by Covid-19 returned Niv to Sydney in more permanent ways than she might have imagined. Ways that her yoga practice allowed her to find peace in rather than resist. This acceptance and calming strength, and the greater and deeper well-being that comes with it, is the yoga that Niv knows, practices, lives, and shares with all those she engages with in her workshops. An everyday way of being, as she says.

– Esther Sim

Please consider encouraging your children and teenagers to develop calmness, concentration, and connectedness with Niv at her two yoga workshops this coming Monday 28th September – part of Addison Road Community Organisation’s Community.a.Fair week of events celebrating Mental Health Month 2020.

Tickets available on Eventbrite: