The celebration of International Yoga Day on 21st of June by 192 countries simultaneously was nothing short of a miracle and is akin to a cultural conquest of this ancient Indian tradition. The fact that United Nation has endorsed the project – mission Yoga makes it sustainable . The west and several countries in Far East have adopted Yoga almost as a way of life.
In a lighter vain one may say that , India spent Rs200 crores on the International Yoga Day , but the Chinese would make $1,000 million manufacturing Yoga mats . It makes tremendous business sense in promoting Yoga.
However , any project can be sustainable if it is financed , packaged, marketed and promoted properly . This should not be a mere photo -op session for celebrities and politicians . The government has set itself an ambitious goal of creating an infrastructure where it would be setting up Yoga centres across the country right down to the village level and plans to employ almost 6 lac Yoga instructors .
The Associated Chambers Of Commerce ( ASSOCHAM) understood tremendous business potential in promoting Yoga. The commerce lobby stated that ” the increased focus on Yoga by the government , coupled with growing awareness about traditional Indian ways of dealing with stress in corporate sector has improved opportunities in yoga training with commensurate demand for trainers set to grow by 30 to 35% in a couple of years.”
Several allopaths and hospitals are convinced that practice of Yoga , Pranayama and Meditation can help in the treatment of cardiac ailments, cancers, diabetes , obesity and blood pressure. In this direction HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the founder of Art Of Living in his interview to CNN IBN aptly put it that man has to either reduce his wants and desires( unlikely), increase his time span in a day( not possible) or reduce his stress levels . And practice of Yoga positively helps in reduction of stress levels, much as the Cassandras of doubt and prophets of doom may feel otherwise.
Fortunately , Government Of India and Corporate Sector have realised the palliative benefits of Yoga to increase productivity . But in the government the odd Babu or bureaucrat acts like a road block . The Government should reconsider restarting the Government Executive Programme with the Art Of Living thereby spreading the awareness and benefits of Yoga , Sudarshan Kriya( a unique breathing technique) , Pranayama and Meditation among its employees . Around 1 crore government employees ( both Central and State governments) can be imparted this training . Once the employees receive this training , their family members too would take up Art Of Living Programmes . Similarly the defence forces and public sector need to take up the programme to cope with pressures of modern living. This will increase productivity and efficiency of the employees.
The Corporate Sector need to park money as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility to promote Yoga and its associated practices . This will ensure healthy living of the employees only to increase productivity . It was heartening to learn that a corporate employee opined that come what may , he practices sun salutations everyday without fail despite a hectic schedule. Abhyasa ( practice ) is so essential in Yoga . Regular practice of Yoga , with measured diet and meditation , provides good health and that glow on one’s face.
The next target are schools , colleges and universities to promote Yoga as a way of healthy living . Perhaps today';s young generation feel that only pumping of iron and acquiring a six pack ab promotes fitness and” health”. But the human body is much more than its physical self , it is a complex aggregate of mind , body and soul. More toxins are released through breath control that sweating on a treadmill.
Though a lot needs to be done , a broad road map has been laid . However how focused , committed government and private sector are remains to be seen . I am optimistic and hope that government does not fritter away the immense popularity the event has generated . There would be definitely an odd Babu in the corridors of power and a recalcitrant corporate employee who would act as a stumbling block. It is a challenge to change their mindset .
Sage Patanjali in his Sutras has identified two areas to achieve Yoga( union) , namely Abhyasa ( Practice) and Vairagya ( Dispassion) . These qualities are paramount for our government, country and the world at large to live and experience Yoga on a sustainable basis.
Salutations to my Guru ( HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar )
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