Indian yoga evangelist Swami Ramdev is a master at his craft. With millions of followers and yearly revenues of 20 million GBP (roughly $39 million USD), clinics all over India, a yoga TV show with 20 million viewers (at 5:30am no less!), and his own yoga cruise, this guy is major.
Ever a figure of public ridicule (as well as reverence), his latest claim that yoga is a cure-all has ignited a new round of skepticism, especially amongst the medical community.
“Swami Ramdev’s pitch is that pranayama, the ancient Indian art of breath control, can cure a bewildering array of diseases. “Asthma, arthritis, sickle-cell anaemia, kidney problems, thyroid disease, hepatitis, slipped discs – and it will unblock any fallopian tubes,” he tells his audience in the yoga village, who line up to have their blood tested and receive herbal remedies.”
Although we’re no doctors and don’t really know of its proof as a cure, certainly yoga, in the right form, couldn’t hurt those with serious ailments. Frankly, we have to admit there are a few other points Mister Ramdev makes that we tend to agree with, like condemning the use of Coke or Pepsi for anything other than “toilet cleaning” (seriously, that stuff is potent), and support of organic farming. And while we’re not sure he’s doing any harm it does give us unease to know there’s a cult-like figure channeling Pat Robertson running around evangelizing yoga. But we figure hey, he’s promoting yoga, we love yoga! Good for him! Then we read the part where he decided to give up sex because “it is not love.” Now that is taking it too far.
He is also an advocate for yoga boot camp, using yoga in military training.
TV Swami Offers a Cure for All Ills [Guardian UK]
Baba Ramdev Has a Cure for Everything, Including Economic Woe [Times Online UK]