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Commercialization of yoga: Boon or bane?

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New Delhi: Thousands of participants performs Yoga during a full dress rehearsal for the International Yoga Day at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 19, 2015. (Photo: IANS)
Thousands of participants performs Yoga during a full dress rehearsal for the International Yoga Day at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 19, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi: From the tranquil environs of a forest or mountains, yoga is now increasingly moving to air-conditioned enclosures within homes, fitness centres or attractive resorts. While commercialization has surged the popularity of yoga, glamourising it to suit modern taste, this has also taken away the authenticity of the age-old discipline, say experts.

Nupur Sikka, director of Ganga Kinare, a riverside boutique hotel in Rishikesh – a city touted as ‘World Capital of Yoga’ and home to many ashrams and spiritual gurus – feels that “commercialization has both positive and negative impact”.

“We really need to treasure the traditional yoga style and maintain its authenticity rather than mixing up different styles of yoga,” Sikka told IANS.

The origins of yoga – which helps in physical and mental well-being – have been speculated to date to pre-Vedic Indian traditions. Later, yoga gurus from India introduced the discipline to the west. It is estimated that 250 million people around the world practice yoga, over 20 million of them in the US.

It has evolved into forms like hot yoga, power yoga, Ashtanga yoga and more.

Now, with the world ready to celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21 – proposed to the UN by by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accepted with acclamation – experts hope its popularity gets a further boost.

“The affirmation coming from one of the highest offices in the country surely helps people shed their cynicism and develop an honest inquisitiveness. The fact that Modi himself is a trained yoga practitioner has further helped in promoting yoga,” Manisha Kharbanda, a 28-year-old practitioner and proponent of yoga for almost two decades, told IANS.

Kharbanda, who founded BrahmYog, a Patiala-based initiative committed to spread the benefits of yoga, stressed that “yoga is an education and commercialization of any type of education is not good”.

There are some, like IT training company Koenig Solutions, who give free yoga classes not only to their employees, but also to underprivileged children.

On the flipside, a major benefit of the commercialization of yoga has been the increased accessibility of the practice to the masses. Today, yoga is being offered in more venues, in more styles and of course more teachers, but Kharbanda believes that to keep a check on ensuring the promotion of authentic yoga, certification of yoga teacher from right institute must be a prerequisite.

“The idea of certifying yoga teachers through the ministry of AYUSH will be a welcome step and will ensure that people learn yoga the way it was evolved by our forefathers,” added Kharbanda, who holds four batches of yoga classes everyday.

Also, with the burgeoning popularity of yoga among the young and old alike, it has created space for multiple training centres.

Bikram Yoga, an international chain, has opened its first franchisee in India. For a monthly membership of Rs.6,000 exclusive of taxes or an annual membership of Rs.50,000 plus tax, it is attracting customers.

“Till now, 50-plus people have joined the classes in a period of one month while over 150 have taken a trial and have liked it. Many are eager to join. We have members from various age-groups ranging from 13 to 70,” Bikram Yoga owner Pallavi Aggarwal told IANS.

The fact that yoga is turning out to be a huge business globally is also proven by the variety of designer apparel and practice mats available in the market. And it’s only poised for growth.

“The interest of yoga in western countries is much more than India. In fact, yoga in the west has already taken off… It has much to do with government’s initiative because that is a force which guides people in a certain way,” Navneet, assistant general manager, Kairali Yoga at Kairali Ayurvedic Group, told IANS.

-IANS

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In ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi stresses on preventive healthcare

Modi also said the government has set a target to free India from tuberculosis by 2025

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi (FILE PHOTO)
  • In his latest ‘Mann Ki Baat’ Modi talks about health care
  • He presented stats of the healthcare sector
  • He talks about public awareness and development strategies

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the people to be more conscious about preventive health care because prevention was not only beneficial for a person but also for his or her family and society. Modi also said the government has set a target to free India from tuberculosis by 2025 and that the government and insurance companies will jointly provide Rs 5 lakh insurance cover to about 10 crore families per year.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of healthcare in his last Mann Ki Baat edition.

In his monthly radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”, the Prime Minister said: “Preventive healthcare is the least costly and the easiest one as well. As much as we are conscious about preventive healthcare, it will be beneficial for the person, his family and society.” Modi also stressed on the need for sanitisation because “a healthy India is as vital as clean India”.

“I believe that healthy India and clean India are supplementary to each other. The country has moved ahead in the health sector with a conventional approach. Earlier, every health related work was the responsibility of the Union Health Ministry only. But in the current scenario, every department, state governments and other departments are working together for a healthy India.” He said the first necessity for a healthy life is cleanliness.

Also Read: With 100% FDI, Narendra Modi calls Food Sector a Priority in Make in India Programme

“As all of us took up the responsibility, the result is that in the last four years or so, sanitation coverage has almost doubled and risen to around 80 per cent.”

Modi said yoga has attained worldwide recognition as a measure of preventive healthcare and urged people to start a movement right now. “Yoga Day will be celebrated on June 21. Can we start working from now to encourage people for Yoga?”

He said the government had opened over 3,000 ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendras (people’s medicine centre) and was working continuously to open more such centres. More than 800 medicines are being made available at these centres at an affordable price, he said.

will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
Narendra Modi presented stats regarding health care system in India. Wikimedia Commons

Citing some key steps of his government for patients, the Prime Minister said: “The cost for heart stent for the patients has been reduced to 85 per cent. Knee implants cost has also been regulated and reduced by 50-70 per cent. “Under ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’, the Indian government and insurance companies will jointly provide Rs 5 lakh for treatment to about 10 crore families or say 50 crore citizens per year.”

Also Read: For Modi, Road To 2019 Will Be Steeper

He said MBBS seats in present 479 medical colleges have been increased to about 68,000 and new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are being opened in various states with a view to provide better treatment to people across the country.

“One new medical college will be set up for every three districts.” The Prime Minister said the government is working to make the country TB-free by 2025. “This is an enormous task. Your cooperation is needed to create public awareness. All of us will need to make united efforts to become TB-free,” Modi added. IANS