Saturday, February 19, 2011


3. Yoga for Health, Yoga for Humanity, Yoga in 21st Century – Hindu Perspective + References

Yoga for Health, Yoga for Humanity, Yoga in 21st Century
Ravi Kumar,

Yoga is Most Ancient and yet Modern
Bharat is the birthplace of yoga no matter who tries to hijack it for publicity or business. Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in Bharat a few thousand years ago. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1700 BCE) sites in present day Pakistan depict figures in positions resembling yoga or meditation pose. Techniques for experiencing higher states of consciousness in meditation were developed by the ancient Vedic tradition and developed to a higher level by yogi Patanjali.

Yoga in Modern Context
Yoga today focuses on the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind and prana or vital energy. It marks the development of asanas into full body 'postures' along with its many modern variations.

Yoga in Islam
The development of Sufism was considerably influenced by Indian yogic practices where they adapted both physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). The ancient Indian yogic text Amritakunda ("Pool of Nectar)" was translated into Arabic and Persian as early as the 11th century.

Malaysia's top Islamic body in 2008 passed a fatwa against Muslims practicing yoga, saying that its practice was blasphemy and is therefore haraam. Muslim yoga teachers in Malaysia criticized the decision as "insulting". Sisters in Islam, a women's rights group in Malaysia, also expressed disappointment and said that its members would continue with their yoga classes.

In a similar vein, the Council of Ulemas, an Islamic body in Indonesia, passed a fatwa banning yoga. Yoga enthusiasts in Indonesia responded by organizing an 8-days International Conference on Yoga and Ayurveda in March 2009 despite the fatwa.

Yoga retreats and conferences are used as baits to attract large tourists to Egypt, despite Muslim intolerance to yoga. Yoga practices in the Muslim countries have not diminished by these threats. Jogi Faqir, a Muslim sect from Bharat has successfully incorporated yoga into its practice.

Egypt …… (To edit)

Yoga in Bharat
Dr H.R. Nagendra, the vice-chancellor of Svyasa University in Bangalore is an engineer by training. He puts his background to good use as Svyasa collaborates with the world’s leading research institutions to conduct clinical trials and scientifically establish the health benefits of yoga. Rashtrothan Parishad at Keshav Shilpa in Bangalore has trained Cricket great Rahul Dravid in yoga. Yogacharya Ramdev Baba has become a legend in his own time. Sudarshan Kriya based on yoga has been the secret weapon of Sri Sri Ravishankar. Swami Sivanand of Divine Life Society and his illustrious disciples spread yoga far and wide.

Brahma Kumaris ………….. To Edit

Yoga in Asian Countries

Yoga, a craze in Shanghai
Yoga is the latest craze to hit Shanghai, with yogashalas opening all over the city - Kundalini Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Yogi Shastra and Yoga Shala. When you phone up to enquire you are greeted with "Namaste"! The yoga shalas with agarbatis burning and bhajans playing, give the scene of an ashram in Bharat. The Chinese yoga teachers teach the class to chant "Shanti, shanti, shant-I" and Sanskrit shlokas. Yoga schools across the China are now importing Indian yoga teachers.

A Japanese Yoga Game for Blowing away Stress
Konami Digital Entertainment, a Japanese video game software firm, to cash in on the global popularity, has come up with a novel way to release stress that doesn't involve blowing up aliens or racing roadsters; it is yoga.

Yoga in Christianity

Yoga in Europe, America and Australia
In the West, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) as a form of exercise.

In 2003 the Vatican warned that yoga and meditation "can degenerate into psychic disturbance and at times to moral deviations." Some fundamentalist Christian organizations consider yoga practice to be incoherent to their religious background and therefore a non-Christian religious practice. Yet many Roman Catholics now bring elements of Yoga, Buddhism, and Hinduism into their spiritual practices.

Yoga in Russia
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has joined the thousands of Russians eager to learn the ancient Indian art of yoga. "Little by little, I'm mastering yoga," Medvedev said in an April 2007 interview with Itogi, a weekly magazine. Yoga, he explained, helped him relax from the stress of work. It appears that after one year, Medvedev has made huge progress in developing his yoga skills, having mastered shirshasana, the headstand pose. "I can even stay on my head," he told the magazine Tainy Zvyozd in 2008.

Russia’s former First Lady Naina Yeltsin and her daughter Tatiyana practice Iyengar yoga regularly. So inspired is Mrs Yeltsin, that she now wants every home in the country to practice yoga for a healthy lifestyle.§name=News%20-%20City§id=2&contentid=2009050120090501034137214c435cabf

Khatuna Kobiashvili, the publisher of Yoga Journal Russia, estimated that at least 100,000 people regularly practice yoga in Russia. The magazine - published by The Moscow Times' parent company, Independent Media Sanoma Magazines - sells 55,000 copies a month nationwide, she said. "If we sell this much, this means people are practicing yoga," Kobiashvili said.

Yoga in Canada and South America
In spite of many threats yoga is spreading like wild-fire to every nook and corner of the western world. For instance Canada, especially the West Coast, has witnessed the rise of hundreds, if not thousands, of yoga studios, meditation centers, vegetarian restaurants and Ayurvedic health spas, all of which could be said to have roots in India, in Hinduism. Argentina has a Yoga Eco Park and Bogota, Colombia has a Yoga Monastery.

Yoga in USA
Americans spend about $3 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including clothes, vacations, DVDs and books, according to Yoga Journal magazine. (What a pity Government of India never thought of patenting yoga or producing yoga teachers through schools curriculums). The magazine's 2004 poll of 4,700 Americans estimated that 16.5 million people practice yoga. An additional 25 million said they intend to try yoga.

Surya Namaskar Yagna, Yogathon and Times Square Yagna in USA in 2010
Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh of America has been conducting Surya Namaskar Yagna in the month of January every year. Last year 10,000 participants performed 10 lakh or 1 million namaskars. Several government officials appreciated this event for promoting health. TV Channels like ABC news KAAL, TV Asia, NBC news KTTC, ITV Asia and Radio stations covered the event.

Anju Bhargava, a Hindu member of President's Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships launched the country's first Yogathon in August 2010. The Yogathon was created in the spirit of President Obama's United We Serve campaign and Active Lifestyle Challenge, by Bhargava's Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC). The Yogathon introduced American youth to yoga as a means to reduce obesity and to promote healthy living for all - adults and youth. Thousands of children and adults participated in the free national Yogathon through one of the 106 sites across 23 states that volunteered to participate.

On June 21 every year more than 800 yoga enthusiasts, some from as far as California and Honduras attended Yoga and Surya Namaskar yagna amidst chanting of Om Namah Shivayah, at Times Square in Manhattan, New York, one of the world’s busiest intersections in search for serenity. The Yagna is organized by Douglass Stewart, a lead yoga instructor and Tim Tompkins, a yoga enthusiast. President of the Times Square Alliance was the sponsor of the event. The event is held to coincide with the summer solstice. "What better way to bring in the summer solstice in the most chaotic place in the city," Mr. Tompkins said.

Celebrities Doing Yoga
While the reclusive actress Greta Garbo, Sting and Madonna posed in yoga postures, the gossip pages linked stars such as Gloria Swanson, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe to various Yoga teachers. Marilyn, Walter Winchell reported, took up Yoga "to improve her legs," but some of her fans who followed her lead no doubt discovered more profound uses for the discipline.

Beginning in the 1920s, Paramahansa Yogananda, a celebrity in his own right after the publication, in 1946, of his Autobiography of a Yogi, attracted students like the composer Leopold Stokowski, the scientist Luther Burbank and the reclusive actress Greta Garbo.

(Maharishi Maheh Yogi …………… To edit)

Statements by Madonna, …. To edit

Christian Yoga

Time Magazine one Yoga

Yoga in Business and Business in Yoga
The corporate world is using yoga to increase productivity. It is also a multi-billion dollar business in USA alone.

Yoga in Business to Improve Productivity
Yoga gives the business houses and their staff an opportunity to experience calmness of mind in the work place. By taking a little time out from the day to day stresses and pressures of the job, employees are re-energized and are able to tackle their jobs with a fresh clarity and vitality. Stretching the body and working with the breath, gradually improves health, reduces fatigue and increases alertness thus leading to improved productivity, feelings of well-being and less time off work due to sickness. Yoga is helping to improve employee productivity, improve work life balance, improve employee health, minimise sick absence, improve decision making, improve creativity, stress management and improve morale. Marketing Yoga in business itself is becoming a roaring business in yoga.

Yoga is a big business in America
According to Yoga Journal magazine's 2004 poll of 4,700 Americans estimated that 1 Crore and 65 lakh (16.5 million) people practice yoga. An additional 2.5 crores (25 million) said they intend to try yoga. Americans spend about 14,000 Crore Rupees ($3 billion) a year on yoga classes and products, including clothes, vacations, DVDs and books, according to Yoga Journal magazine.

A variety of yoga-inspired brands like Prana, Be Present, Inner Waves, Lululemon Athletica as well as Nike and Fila are making styles in Lycra, cotton and microfibers. Prana founded in 1993 in a garage in California has sold clothes for yoga worth IRs. 140 crores ($30 million) in 13 years. Lululemon Athletica, a “yoga-inspired athletic apparel company” based in Vancouver, British Columbia has grown from 10 stores in 2006 to 30 next year and plans to open 200 stores eventually. Yoga Journal magazine is now published in Russia, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Hong Kong and Brazil. Ford Motor features a woman in her 20s taking yoga class in its “Live and Drive” ad campaign for its $18,000 Fusion car. Yoga is growing fastest within the 18-to-24-year-old group.

Yoga for Sports Legends
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player, widely considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time. During his 20 years in the NBA from 1969 to 1989, he scored the highest total points by any player in league history – in addition to winning a record six Most Valuable Player Awards. He may be best known for his indefensible sky hook; but the Hall of Fame center believes his secret weapon was really yoga. "Yoga is somewhat hard to quantify in terms of benefits because you see them in all the injuries you don't get." While in L.A., Abdul-Jabbar started doing yoga in 1976 to improve his flexibility, and was notable for his physical fitness regimen. “When Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino came to ask me how to extend his longevity and deal with all the collision-type injuries you get from playing football, I steered him to yoga; the next time I saw him he said yoga was absolutely helpful in his training regimen”, Abdul Jabbar said.

Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs (players for Manchester United and Celtic), Evander Holyfield (Heavyweight Boxing Champion), Pete Sampras (Grand slam Tennis Champion), Venus and Serena Williams (Women’s tennis Champions), Ian Thorpe (Australian) Olympic gold medalist in Swimming, New Zealand All Blacks and Indian National Cricket team practice yoga.

Music Moguls turn to Yoga
Many stars like Madonna and Quincy Jones swear by yoga and some former athletes are hailing it as their only form of exercise. Music Moghul Quincy Jones had a malignant tumor. They said if he survived he would never walk again. Well, he is still alive and walking because of yoga. Yoga can do this. Take on the challenge and learn to unify your mind breath and body.

The Secret Of The Success Of Aussie Cricket Team : Yoga
A report in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ has suggested that the secret of the Australian cricket win in India was due to Yoga. “The secret weapon of India’s defeat has apparently been yoga” said the report. It said that for the first time a yoga teacher has joined the team providing logistics to the members. It gave them the Indian secret to mental and physical discipline .One of their prolific scorers, Justin Langer was quoted as saying “he never felt fitter and stronger. An Indian yoga teacher devoted two hours to him to teach every yoga pose there is.”
The first Hatha Yoga taught by an Australian was probably in Sydney late in 1949. It is incredible how the influence of Yoga and Indian culture generally has spread so wide and deep by the force of its own energy in so short a time.

Yoga Beyond Body Streches
The path of Action – Karma yoga, the path of Devotion – Bhakti yoga and the path of Knowledge – Jnana yoga are integrated Hinduism. Thus different facets of an individual are given due importance.

One can go to the Harvard Business School and learn how to be a fantastic businessperson, but no one ever teaches people how to better manage themselves through the course of a workday. It is all about learning techniques so that if a curveball comes ones way, one knows how to calm oneself in the midst of everyday chaos. Bhagwad Gita serves as a blue print for overall personal development.

In Conclusion: Yoga for Health, Yoga for Humanity
There are thriving Vedanta groups in most metropolitan cities of the world and a number of Vedanta monasteries, many thousands of Yoga teachers, millions of students and a growing number of people studying Sanskrit, Vedanta, Indian philosophy or Indian music and dance.

Healthy people make healthy societies which generally lead to healthy governments and economies. It's a Hanuman’s tail (domino effect) that starts with individual change or perhaps a pose. One small yoga stretch in Mohan-Jo-Daro 5,000 years ago has become one large Yogathon across the world.

The popular YOGA now-a-days is just one Darshan of Total Hindu Heritage or Sanatan Dharm. Bharat’s amazing culture's strength is in sharing and its universal appeal. Bharat is, after all, to many the `Holy Land'.

Jai Shri Ram

About the Author
Ravi Kumar, an engineer from Chennai, left his job in Larsen & Toubro in 1975 to serve the society as an RSS Pracharak. He was transferred to Hong Kong in 1982. Since then he has been travelling to over 35 countries organising the Hindu society and inspiring them to serve. He has conducted several workshops on Vedic Mathematics in many universities in 20 countries and also at the Royal Society of New Zealand. He has penned three books: Glimpses of Hindu Genius, Ramayan Around the World – a Living Legend and Vedic Mathematics. He is the Intl Joint Coordinator of Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh.


1. Wikipedia on yoga

2. Yoga and Vedanta in Australia By Russell Frank Atkinson

3. Yoga Is Big Business By SUSAN MORAN, New York Times, December 28, 2006

4. Yogathon: stretching bodies, stretching minds across America - Author: Dipka Bhambhani - Publication: News Week - Date: August 31, 2010

5. Japanese game for blowing away stress with yoga, The Indian Express, Date: September 23, 2007
URL: http://www.indianex story/219582. html

6. Stress Out, Yoga In, by Teresa M McAleavy Date September 25, 2007


cb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cb said...

Dear Ravi Kumar,
Please visit
for good information concerning the activities of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his many organizations.

Also of interest many be:

Thank you for your fine blog!

Dr. Craig M. Berg

Bharat kumar said...

Bharat abhi bhi aage hai......,

namaste yoga said...

Please visit
Isn't it cool.??

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