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Padma Shri winner Wai Lana revolutionising yoga in USA

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Himani Kumar Sanagaram

Her  colorful “ Haku Fresh Flower Head Lei” or Hawaiian  crown of flowers is what sets her apart from the rest of the pack. Recent Padma Shri winner Wai Lana is a woman of Chinese origin woman, who introduced Yoga to China and has made it mainstream in the United States.

Showing off her Hawaiian origin, this daughter of Chinese immigrants in the US has achieved great heights by her sheer hard work and is conspicuous in her colorful clothing and yogic postures be it TV, DVD, or YouTube videos. Wai Lana is only one of two Chinese nationals to win the prestigious Padma award in its 62-year history.

“I’m very humbled and don’t feel deserving. I’ve just been trying my best to share the gift of yoga with the Chinese people and the rest of the world. My real reward is seeing so many people experiencing the many benefits that yoga has to offer,” Wai Lana said of the award in a press release

Yoga has been popular in America  for many years and was first introduced in United States by Swami Vivekanada, who came to the country in  1893 to attend the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Later it was made popular by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Yogi Bhajan etc.

Wai Lana, whose actual name is Zhang Huilan in Chinese  credits the Chinese leadership to her successful Yoga TV programs in China.

“Chinese leaders understood the value of yoga long before it became popular in the United States,” Wai Lana said.

“Mother of Yoga” as she is called has been broadcasting  the Yoga TV series “Wai Lana Yoga”  for over 17 years ago on PBS in the United States. She has inspired many American and Chinese youth to take up Yoga. Her videos are mostly shot in natural locations- by the sea or trees in a forest.

Her popular song “Namaste” has been well received and the video was releases worldwide on the International Day of Yoga on June 21 last year, when it was celebrated for the first time.  International Yoga Day was internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 11, 2014. In the song, her sweet melancholy voice captures the peace and joy that yoga gives as she joins people all over the world from Poland, Hawaii, India, Canada etc. to unite in peace and practice Yoga.

At a time, when even many young Indians both in India and United States are renouncing their culture and religious practices, for western culture, Wai Lana bridges the gap between the east and the west

Her hard work is endearing as can be seen in videos. She is truly a modern yogi and one can hardly doubt if she is of Chinese origin. Her programs started airing on CCTV in China in 1985 and in America in 1998 and then in many other countries.

Wai Lana has also worked on a “Little Yogis” DVD for kids and has launched various healthy food products and yoga gear related to Ayurvedic cures. Her website sells various healthy products related to yoga and shares information on meditation, lifestyle, yoga sound meditation techniques and recipes. She has really spread the art of Yoga to United States and China as well as other countries.

Himani Kumar Sanagaram is freelance journalist based in Chicago. She covered Headley’s trial from Chicago from 2010-2012. She is also a former foreign correspondent with Press Trust of India.

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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