Ishwar Sharma, an 11-year-old yoga prodigy from Kent, has been awarded a Points of Light Award by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for helping hundreds of children around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic with free online yoga classes.
In a personal letter to Ishwar, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “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.”
Ishwar, who has autism and ADHD, is a three-time World Yoga Champion and has been practicing yoga since he was only three. A desire to help other children, particularly those with special needs like himself, inspired him to launch free online yoga classes.
However, after the coronavirus pandemic hit and forced global lockdowns, he’s worked even harder to help others work through their mental and physical health, using the benefits of practicing yoga. Around 40 people a day from 14 countries, including Dubai, Australia, India and USA attend his classes.
After hearing of the Prime Minister’s announcement, Ishwar said: “I am honoured and humbled by this recognition. I am grateful to the Prime Minister for recognising my efforts. 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 endeavourto 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. I thank my parents, yoga gurus and teachers who have been supporting me in this journey.”
A student of Whitgift School in Croydon, where he was awarded a sports scholarship for yoga, Ishwar has been working hard to promote the benefits of yoga, particularly amongst a younger generation. He has worked with Sky on a documentary for Children’s Mental Health Week, and in 2020, Ishwar won the Global Yoga Championship organised by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and donated the full prize money to a charity working to fight Covid-19. He has also received the British Youth Citizen Award and the Global Child Prodigy Award, amongst others.
The Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award was first launched in April 2014 to recognise people who are making a change in their community. Every week day the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the Daily Point of Light award. Ishwar Sharma is the 1,646th person to be recognised by the award.