The first ever UN-approved International Day of Yoga is fast approaching. And now it’s been reported that India’s leader will be publicly yoga-ing in celebration come June 21st.
According to Reuters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will “practice physical poses and breathing control” at the country’s main event, government spokespeople confirm. Apparently it’s not just for show, though. Modi practices yoga regularly.
“He says he performs Yoga exercises every day and credits them with giving him energy so he only needs a few hours sleep each night.”
Hm. Not sure that’s something we’d promote – we’re sleeping right now! (Kidding.) To each their own. (zzzzzz…)
Modi has been the star proponent of bringing international awareness to the ancient practice of yoga while making sure everyone knows where it comes from. The Prime Minister presented the idea of International Yoga Day in his speech to the United Nations back in September – “Yoga should not be just an exercise for us, but it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature,” he said declaring yoga “India’s gift.” And by December it was so, with 177 countries in support. There’s even an official logo!
For the countries opting not to participate, observances will be held at the embassies, said India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj.
“We will observe the day going beyond the 177 countries who have helped pass the resolution by bringing in the rest as well. Internal events will be organized at the Embassy premises in those countries where local regulations do not permit holding of yoga,” Swaraj said.
India suddenly means business when it comes to yoga and its ancient healing history and it wants the world to know it. Besides spearheading the International Day of Yoga, India’s government recently created its very first department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) which they built to manage the nation’s health systems as well as enter into the estimated $100 billion global market for alternative medicine. They are reportedly allocating 10.69 billion rupees ($174 million) to develop and promote traditional health systems for the 2014-15 financial year, and looking to largely increase that in coming years.
“This is our system and it has not received enough prominence. We will take it to the masses,” said Shripad Naik, who will head up AYUSH.
It’s interesting, for sure. Taking ownership is one thing. But we’re fairly sure the masses are already pretty hip to yoga by now. What would be really interesting is if leaders from around the world all practiced yoga in public on International Yoga Day – we smell another Coke commercial! Or, in the very least, some very popular Instagram accounts.
photo credit: REUTERS/Rick Stevens
taxila is in pakistan, so “india’s gift” maybe not so.. and a lot of people don’t see the yoga in the international phenomenom.. but, peace and then peace.
This is truly precious coming from Modi whose government has done everything to gut environmental regulations, engaged in forced conversions of Muslims and Christians to Islam, promised to vastly increase its use of coal as a power source—the list could go on and on. If western yogis had any idea of the degradations of the caste system and various other societal issues they would be appalled. I have visited India yearly, sometimes twice a year, since 1998 and I have never witnessed such cruelty anywhere else in the world. Also, such tender sweetness. Do the two have to be yoked together? I think not. Modi is all misplaced overblown ego trying to compensate for an unfortunate sense of centuries old national inferiority. Witness his recent meeting with Obama in India: Modi came dressed in a pin striped suit—a closer look at the pin stripes revealed that the name “Mahendra Modi” repeated ad nauseum were what made of the pin stripes! You can imagine what went through Obama’s mind! If India wishes to be taken seriously in any way, I hope and pray that it takes a good hard look at its heritage and toss the bad while embracing the inspiring. Otherwise India, with its 1.3 billion people will not only continue to drag itself downwards but also endanger the world as a whole. Btw, the US might want to look at itself too. A combination of the best of both cultures (without jingoism—which is always a sign of weakness) would be revolutionary worldwide. You may say I’m a dreamer…. Let’s hope and. more importantly, actively work for the change daily, hourly, “atha” (now). It is always “atha”.
Sorry. obviously I meant “Hinduism” rather than “Islam” regarding the conversions.