Mumbai: BMC Plans To Set Up Camps On International Day of Yoga

Mumbai: BMC Plans To Set Up Camps On International Day of Yoga

The United Nations announced the International Day of Yoga on December 11, 2014, in response to a proposal made by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Thursday, June 20, 2024, 07:47 PM IST
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Mumbai: BMC Plans To Set Up Camps On International Day of Yoga | Representational Image

Mumbai: Today, on International Day of Yoga, thousands of Mumbaikars will take part in events to celebrate an ancient Indian concept of mental and physical well-being. Schools, colleges, workplaces, community associations, yoga institutes, and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have planned l camps for practitioners and also for newcomers to the technique.

The United Nations announced the International Day of Yoga on December 11, 2014, in response to a proposal made by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. The proposal was approved by an overwhelming majority of members. The summer solstice on June 21, an important cultural and religious day, was chosen as the date for the commemoration.

Mumbai is home to some of the oldest schools that began the formal teaching of Yoga, a composite system of knowledge that encompasses ideas on philosophy, medicine, exercise, and diet. One school, Kaivalyadham, based out of various centres, including Marine Drive and Lonavala, is celebrating its centenary this year.

"We are pioneers. We came up with the first scientific study on yoga. We started the first college in the 1950s and in 1962, we inaugurated the first yoga hospital," said Ravi Dixit, Joint Director of Kaivalyadhama Mumbai which will hold around 50 yoga camps today, including sessions at Raj Bhavan, SNDT, Maharashtra Police Headquarters, and Bombay High Court.

The Yoga Institute in Santacruz, established in 1918 by Shri Yogendraji, estimates that it has trained at least 1,00,000 yoga teachers and students. The organisation has 12 centres in the city and teaches classical yoga, as taught by Maharishi Patanjali who wrote Yogashastra, the first text on the subject,

The teaching of yoga now, however, is not restricted to spiritual groups. The Somaiya Vidyavihar University offers several academic courses in yoga, including a Master's degree in Yogashastra for which it is currently conducting the admission process. Around eight colleges in the city offer programmes in the subject.

Dixit said that yoga now attracts millions of enthusiasts every year. "It has been becoming popular over the last few decades, but it has become big in the last few years. Earlier we had to convince and justify our ideas to get people to join. Nowadays we do not have to do that. People want to do it," said Dixit.

Amrita Tongia, yoga teacher and the head of The Yoga Institute's Malad centre, said that in the early years of the organisation the students were largely men. "The practice was new. Our founder's wife Sitadevi started yoga for women. The place developed and flourished, Now, with recognition from the UN and PM Modi's support there is no looking back," said Tongia.

Though it has deep ties with Hindu philosophy, Yoga now has followers among diverse religious groups. Safiya Ali, a Muslim who has been teaching yoga for the last 12 years in Kurla said she sees yoga as a tool for mental and physical fitness rather than a religious idea. "My students include Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, apart from Hindus. There is a misunderstanding that it is not for non-Hindus, but we do not stress much on the religious prayers. We focus on ideas like meditation, food, thoughts," said Ali.

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