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News updated at 3:49 PM IST

Cops' shocker to yoga schools

Last updated: 11 April, 2010
Ramesh S Kebbehundi, Mysore, Apr 11, DHNS: 22:15 IST

Schools in Mysore cannot teach foreigners on travel visas

The booming yoga tourism in Mysore city may take a beating, thanks to a police circular to yoga schools ordering them not to teach foreigners visiting on travel visas.

The schools have been asked to teach only foreigners who arrive on ‘student visa’ or ‘yoga visa’ and to obtain permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Besides, police further cautioned the managements of yoga schools in the city that they would face legal action if they violated the order. They have also been asked to furnish to the nearest police station details of foreigners learning yoga on ‘student’ or ‘yoga’ visa with permission obtained from Ministry of Home Affairs.

The police action is designed to keep track of foreigners visiting the country, in the light of the terrorist threat perception. But the managements of Yoga schools in the city are in a quandary as none of them have obtained permission from Ministry of Home Affairs and have been teaching yoga to foreigners visiting on travel visa. They just make do with a licence from Mysore City Corporation.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, yoga teacher Ramesh Kumar of Pranayushya Yoga Shaala of Krishnamurthypuram said the circular will deny yoga learning to hundreds of foreign yoga students. It would affect not only their business but would also impact adversely the tourism industry in the city as thousands of foreigners come to the city not only for sightseeing, but also to learn yoga.

The circular went against the spirit of the ‘yoga dasara’ - usually held during Dasara festival - to promote yoga which is prohibited to foreigners for reasons unknown. Yoga teaching in Mysore has a long history. It was patronised by Wadiyars with Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar opening a school at the Jaganmohan Palace.

The circular will affect over 700 students from the countries such as the US, UK, Japan, North Korea, China, Netherlands, Denmark and other European countries learning yoga in reputed yoga schools of the city such as Pathanjali Ashtanga Yoga Shaala of Krishnamurthypuram, Mysore Academy of Yoga, Pranavashaya Yoga Shaala of Krishnamurthupuram, Mysore Yoga Mandala and other schools.

Many yoga training schools in city are based in Lakshmipuram, Gokulam, Krishnamurthypuram and other areas. The foreigners usually visit Mysore on travel visa for learning various yoga techniques such as ‘hatayoga’ by BKS Iyengar, Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga and Pranavashyayoga of Pattabhi Jois Yoga School and other schools all these years.

Sheshadri, also a yoga teacher, said the website of Ministry of Home Affairs had no information on licence for teaching yoga or on ‘Yoga Visa’. From the circular it is unclear whether the restriction is applicable to yoga learners only in Mysore or elsewhere in India such as in Goa, Hrishikesh, Haridwar and other parts of the country.

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