PM warns against commodification of yoga

PM warns against commodification of yoga

 With more than 175 countries celebrating International Day on Yoga on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cautioned against commodifying this ancient Indian wellness exercise, which is popular in large parts of the world.

“Yoga is not a commodity. Yoga is not a brand that has to be sold. If we make yoga a commodity, we will cause maximum damage to it,” said Modi at a conference here after participating in an early-morning mass Yoga session with 39,000 people on the Rajpath that created a Guinness World Record.

Though Modi did not refer to anyone in particular, his comments on came in the backdrop of US-based Yoga trainer Bikram Choudhury claiming copyright on some Asanas (postures), triggering a debate on intellectual property rights.  The US authorities later clarified that Yogic Asanas were outside the scope of copyright protection.

Modi, however, acknowledged the contributions of yoga trainers based outside India in popularising the traditional fitness regime. “Yoga is not India's property, and should not be seen as an Indian brand. It's for humanity. Even people outside the country also contribute towards yoga development,” he said.

The support received at the United Nations was not for India, but the great tradition of yoga as yoga practitioners are there in almost every part in India. “We will take the movement forward for better health,” said Modi.

The Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) has set up a task force under the chairmanship of H R Nagendra, vice-chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandha Samasthana and Modi's personal yoga guru, to find ways to promote and regulate yoga. “Regulations are necessary to standardise yoga practices and bring authenticity to yoga teachers,” Nagendra told Deccan Herald. The task force has been given time till September to submit its report, based on which actions will be taken, said AYUSH Ministry secretary Nilanjan Sanyal.

The National Council for Teachers' Education launched a yoga syllabus for BEd teachers on Sunday, said Nagendra. Gradually, more modules on teachers' training will include yoga. On the health front, the prime minister and AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik stressed on the use of yoga in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension, which are on the rise in India.

The World Health Organisation has recently opened a centre at the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in Delhi to scientifically document yogic postures (Asanas) and study the medical benefits of the ancient wellness regime.

Two Guinness World records set

The union ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy on Sunday has been awarded with two Guinness World Records in two different categories on the first International Day of Yoga, DHNS reports.  The first category was for the largest number of participants in a Yoga Lesson at single venue. The earlier record was participation of 29,973 people at an event in Gwalior a decade ago.  The second category was of most number of nationalists in a Yoga Lesson. While the target was participations from 50 countries, diplomats and foreign nationals from as many as 84 nations performed yoga, the Ayush ministry says.

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