Swami Chaitanya Keerti
During his address to United Nations General Assembly on Sept 27 last year, Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi is reported to have stated:.. “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature.”
Yoga has been very popular in the west ever since the western world became aware of the wonderful teachings of Sri Vivekananda, Swami Ramateertha, Sri Aurobindo and some other prominent Yogis who traveled to the western countries. But for last four years, Yoga has been spreading very fast since 2014, when PM Modi suggested 21 June as International Yoga Day. This is a special date which happens to be the Summer Solstice (longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere), and from the perspective of yoga, it marks the transition in the Sun’s celestial passage from north to south. There was an unprecedented publicity around the world about it and Yoga got a royal attention in most of the countries. According to a senior journalist Parveen Chopra: Today, yoga is practiced by an estimated 300 million people worldwide. In the western countries, you can find a yoga studio almost every few blocks. In the US, the number of yoga practitioners is estimated to be over 30 million. Happyho also provide best Meditation classes in Noida and Delhi NCR India area.
In the West, Yoga is adopting some different and unique shapes and styles not similar to how we do it in India. It is very different, sometimes it is very controversial and often too commercial, which offends purists in India–as the Yoga taught by Bikram Choudhury. A website about him claims: Bikram is to yoga what Tae-Bo is to kickboxing. Like Billy Blanks, Bikram Choudhury took a long-existing practice and modified it to create a uniquely-packaged fitness franchise. According to the 66-year-old Indian-born yoga guru, the precise sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises must be performed within 90 minutes in a heated (100-degrees-plus) room to allow the body to stretch, detoxify, relieve stress, tone, and heal chronic pain such as arthritis, joint aches, knee injuries, back problems, and more.
During last few years Bikram Yoga has been spreading in the world like no other Yoga system and it attracted lots of condemnation also from the purists. Parveen Chopra points out: The purists can argue that in its current form, yoga has been reduced to a system of physical exercises. But the practitioners must be liking it, enjoying it and benefiting from it enough to continue to spend their time and energy and money on the practice. Besides, one can also argue that the asana practice, unlike gym workouts, does create a sense of peace and equanimity – a meditative state in short. Interest is also kindled in practitioners about yoga’s other dimensions and its origins.
Osho had a very radical take on Yoga and said: I am very happy that Yoga is getting out of this country, moving into new cultures. There it is bound to take new forms — less rigid, more exploratory. The West has much to contribute to Yoga, as yoga has much to contribute to the West. It is very good that many things that have remained stuck and dormant in India are moving out. It will be good because new people will start trying new things. New postures can be developed, new body rhythms, new breathing processes.
Swami Chaitanya Keerti