News from the East: They’re calling it Yoga’s “official” debut in China. The first Art of Living center was inaugurated Sunday at its new home, 165-acres of land on the banks of the Yangtse river in Beijing.
Of course, yoga has actually been in China for years, and started to really catch on with the youth in the mid 2000’s, but this marks the first time the government had a hand in granting public permission for a center of this sort, essentially an Ashram. Sri Sri Ravi Shanker, AoL’s founder briefly demonstrated yoga and meditation at the groundbreaking event, and thanked the ruling Communist party for their support. Nice of him.
And there’s more to come:
Sunday’s inauguration of the Beijing ashram will be followed by a satsang which will be co-organised by the state-run Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
The following day, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is scheduled to hold an interactive session [entitled ‘Conversations of the Masters’] with various religious leaders including Chang Da Lin, executive director of Buddhist Association of China who is also president of World Buddhist Peace Foundation, Pundit Ren Fa Rong, president of China Taoist Association, Cui Zhong San, vice-president of China Tai Chi Chuan Association, and professor Lei Yuan, director of Cultural Institute of Historical Resources, Beijing University.
The Art of Living Foundation is an international non-profit organization with centers all over the world. And it hasn’t been shy with its own controversies over a “cult-like” following and just how “non” the profit is. There’s even a online outreach for “drop-outs” of AoL who need healing: artoflivingfree.blogspot.com
However, AoL has done good in China over the past decade with various programs across the country, and lending resources for earthquake aid.
We say, more yoga in China is ultimately a good thing. But, quite frankly, we’re a little surprised super Guru Ramdev didn’t set up camp first.
Further reading: Bikram Yoga in China [China Daily – May, 2010]