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Deepening cultural ties: Yoga College in China attracts thousands

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Image source: edu-leaders.com

Beijing: It’s truly said that Yoga knows no bounds. One such evidence is the China-India Yoga College which has drawn thousands since it opened in November last year. It is in Kunming in China’s Yunnan province.

Based in the Yunnan Minzu (Nationalities) University, the country’s first yoga college frequently has students queue up for free lessons in the ancient art, reports Xinhua news agency.

Lu Fang, deputy director of the college, said more than five dozen full-time students have completed yoga sessions. Close to 3,000 people participated in free yoga sessions offered by the college.

“Several companies and government offices invited our teachers to teach yoga,” said Lu.

Yoga was first introduced into China by Hong Kong practitioner Wai Lana in the 1980s. Her workout programmes, which aired daily on China’s Central Television, were the starting point for many Chinese yogis.

China’s white collar workers have adopted yoga as a way to stay fit, with many attending a couple of sessions per week in the gym or studio.

Lu said a growing number of people want to learn from Indian yoga masters.

“They not only learn yoga positions, but also sutras, philosophy, culture and dining habits from the Indian tutors,” Xinhua quoted Lu as saying.

“I only knew about Iyengar style, but after extensive learning with Indian tutors, I have come to a much deeper understanding of the yoga art,” said Han Mingxue, a Chinese yoga teacher in the college.

The college figured in one of 24 agreements reached during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in May last year.

Under the agreement, India sends at least two tutors to the college. It does not issue degrees, but students who want a degree in yoga can pursue further study at Indian colleges.

Velusamy Subbulakshmi, who came from India’s Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, has spent the past five months giving yoga lessons.

She said it was not hard to communicate yoga culture with Chinese learners. “For example, the Chinese Taiji (shadowboxing), has a great deal of similarity with yoga,” she said.

“Yoga has become the most popular form of cultural exchange between China and India,” said Ding Shaoxiang, vice governor of Yunnan province.

China and India, as neighbours and two of the world’s fastest growing economies, have great potential in deepening cultural exchanges, he said. (IANS)

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The Biggest Casualty In Yemen’s War- Education

Yemen also suffers from a shortage of learning facilities.

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Girls attend a class at their school damaged by a recent Saudi-led air strike, in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen.VOA

The school year in Yemen is officially underway. But, the U.N. children’s fund reports the country’s ongoing civil war is keeping millions of children out of the classroom.

More than three years of fighting between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels is having a devastating impact on children’s health and well-being. The U.N. reports more than 11 million children or 80 percent of the country’s children are dependent upon humanitarian aid.

Another major casualty of the war is children’s education. The U.N. children’s fund says the education sector is on the brink of collapse because of conflict, political divisions and chronic underdevelopment.

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UNICEF: Education a Major Casualty of Yemen’s War.

As a consequence, UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said around two million children are not going to school this year. Furthermore, he said nearly four million primary school children soon may not be able to get an education because of a severe shortage of teachers.

“About 67 percent of public school teachers — and this is across the country — have not been paid for nearly two years. Many have looked for other work to survive or are only teaching a few subjects. So, obviously, the quality of education is at stake. Children are not getting their full lessons due to the absence of their teachers. Even when schools are functioning, the schools’ days and years are shortened.”

Yemen also suffers from a shortage of learning facilities. UNICEF reports more than 2,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed by the war. Many schools also are being used as shelters for displaced people and some have been taken over by armed groups.

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FILE – A supporter carries posters depicting Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi during a rally in Sana’a, Yemen, March 6, 2015.
Image source: VOA

The agency warns children who are out of school run many dangers. It notes boys are at risk of being used as child soldiers. It estimates more than 2,600 children have been recruited by all armed groups.

Also Read: North Kivu And Ituri, Congo To Welcome More Than 80,000 Children In This New School Year

UNICEF says girls are likely to be married off at an early age. A 2016 survey finds close to three quarters of women in Yemen have been married before the age of 18, and 44.5 percent before the age of 15. (VOA)