International Yoga Day: Yoga as panacea for human health, well-being , economic growth and prosperity

Apart from spreading happiness and peace by enabling inner engineering, Yoga is a world unto its own, waiting to be explored by one and all

Yoga Utsav organised by AYUSH ministry at Red Fort on World Health Day 2022.

Yoga is a metaphor for a balanced and joyful life. The ancient Indian tradition, and drug-less system of medicine is helping millions across the globe prevent, manage, and even get rid of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity and even cancer.

The beginning and peak of the global pandemic were inflexion points in the adoption of yoga world-over. Battered by the pandemic, people prioritized personal health and wellbeing and adopted yoga in droves. Today, the United States alone has more than 6,000 yoga studios. North America is the biggest market for yoga courses and merchandise, with European nations United Kingdom and France being other sizeable bastions. Yoga is also particularly popular in Japan and South Korea and Australia and New Zealand.

Its rising global popularity has meant that yoga has emerged as a vital avenue for employment generation and entrepreneurship. As we mark the Eighth International Yoga Day June 21, 2022, we must assess the effort that has gone into making yoga a truly global and much-loved Indian brand. Ever since its inception in 2014, the Ministry of Ayush has left no stone unturned in promoting the Indian traditional medicine systems of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, and Sowa Rigpa. These efforts will continue in the Eighth International Day of Yoga, 2022 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the celebrations by participating in a live yoga session with 15,000 people in Mysuru, Karnataka. As this Yoga day is falling in the year of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, the Union Government will also send 75 Union Ministers to perform yogasanas on the International Day of Yoga at 75 iconic locations across the country, to promote yoga among the public and to focus on branding India on the global stage as the birthplace of yoga and the holistic wellness capital of the world.

This year, the International Day of Yoga is being celebrated under the theme of ‘Yoga for Humanity’. Yoga for Humanity is indeed yoga for health for all. Yoga alone is inner engineering in the truest sense. Yoga is India’s gift to the world. It is Indian tradition, embraced by the world. In a divided world, Yoga is a uniting force bringing people together by instilling a keen sense of compassion and kindness. Yoga is all-inclusive and respects diversity. Practising Yoga brings joy, health, and inner peace. It deepens the connection between an individual’s inner consciousness and the external world. For these intrinsic values embedded in Yoga this year’s International Day of Yoga bears the theme ‘Yoga for Humanity’.

As part of the International Day of Yoga 2022 celebrations, a two-day exhibition is being organised in Mysuru on 21 and 22 June. The exhibition will have two elements – physical and digital. During the physical exhibition, over two days, as many as 148 stalls will be erected on the Mysuru parade ground. These stalls will highlight yoga and feature innovations made across the traditional Indian medicine systems of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Sowa Rigpa.

The digital exhibition will allow for unique features like Yoga with Modiji, featuring a display where users can do an instructed yoga session (with a three-dimensional projection of the prime minister) and their movement is detected and shown on the display next to Prime Minister Modi. This has been made into a challenge with posture recognition Kinect technology where users will have to complete five yoga asanas in a limited time frame and score maximum points. The user will have to do each asana correctly to move onto the next one.

The Digital Yoga Exhibition will showcase the evolution of Yoga from the pre-historic to the modern period. It will feature a ‘Heal in India and Heal by India’ wall which will showcase career opportunities in yoga, training, institutions, and research in Yoga and its efficacy in disease mitigation and prevention. The digital exhibition will also highlight COVID success stories, Yoga’s impact on people’s lives, and practical demonstrations.

There will also be the “Yoga: The Guardian Ring” initiative, which will be a relay yoga streaming event on June 21, 2022, which will capture, and weave together digital feed of International Day of Yoga programs organized by Indian missions abroad. The proposed Yoga Ring activity will string together feed – initiating streaming from Fiji at 6 am local time and then move westwards around the world. The stream will be broadcast on YouTube and various Indian government channels.

While yoga has myriad health and spiritual benefits, it has emerged as a major global sector of business. As per industry estimates, the size of just the global yoga clothing market was valued at USD34 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach USD 70 billion by 2030 growing at nearly 8% every year from 2021 to 2030. This presents a great opportunity to Indian entrepreneurs.

The rising number of yoga centres – globally and in India – will require several qualified and certified trainers. India can provide the world with these accredited trainers and yoga practitioners to the world, generating massive employment for the country’s youth.

Yoga indeed holds a colossal opportunity. It is time for Indian youth to realise their potential, train themselves and innovate for India and the world.

Apart from spreading happiness and peace by enabling inner engineering, Yoga is a world unto its own, waiting to be explored by one and all.

The author is Director, Institute for Social and Economic Change. Views are personal.

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