PM Modi’s initiative has created Yoga Revolution
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PM Modi’s initiative has created Yoga Revolution

June 25, 2018

By H.R. Bapu Satyanarayana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 27, 2014 proposed that June 21 may be declared as International Yoga Day as it is the longest day of the year and shares special significance in many parts of the world.

The text of PM’s address on the importance of Yoga is as follows:

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5,000 years old. It embraces unity of mind and body, thought and action restraint and fulfilment, harnessing 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 you, the world and nature by changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well-being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

The proposal received support of 177 member States and they adopted a draft resolution and introduced in the General Assembly without a vote — a record resolution. During the first year on June 21, 2015 a large number of dignitaries from 84 nations performed 21 Yogasanas at Rajpath in New Delhi with Modi in the lead.

After this, interest in Yoga grew and many people across the world joined to perform Yogasanas. Later, Modi announced two Yoga Awards, one for International and another National for excellent contribution in the field of Yoga.

This reminds us of what Neil Armstrong said when he landed on the Moon on July 10, 1969: “A small step for man, a giant leap for humanity.” In a way, what Modi has initiated in the field of Yoga is embracing humanity to bring peace and harmony in the world wracked by the menace of terrorism.

It is interesting to note the Mysuru connection as Yoga Gurus like Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar who have taken Yoga beyond borders.

Following are the few examples to bring out the efficacy of Yoga:

Case of Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The greatest basket ball player of all times Kareem Abdul Jabbar was taught Yoga by K. Pattabhi Jois. Krishnamacharya, the father of modern Ashtanga Yoga, was his teacher. Jabbar was hooked to Yoga from the age of 14 when he read on the subject.

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He says, “There is no way I could have played as I did without Yoga.’ He did not retire after the extraordinary 20 years in Pro-Basket Ball. Many consider Abdul Jabbar to be greatest centre, may be greatest player.

He says, “My friends and teammates think I made a deal with the devil. But it was Yoga that made my training complete.” Nearly 7-ft tall as 14-year-old and a high school student, Jabbar came across a book on Yoga and immediately saw that Yoga emphasises suppleness, concentration and breathing rather than sheer physical strength. He felt that Yoga could benefit him, particularly breathing.

He says, “Breathing in basket ball is an endurance sport and you have to learn to control your breath. That is the essence of Yoga, so I consciously began to use technique in my practice and playing.”

By 1978, Jabbar was routinely doing Yoga exercises as part of training. He adds, “Once I started practicing, I had no muscle injury during my career. Yoga can help any athlete with hip joints, muscles, tendons and knees. It keeps you in touch with the body. His original name was Alcindor and he converted himself to Islam after the 1971 season.

Germany wins 2014 World Soccer Finals

B.K.S. Iyengar’s Yoga helped Germany win Soccer World Cup in 2014. Mario Gotze, who scored Germany’s winning goal in the final, is Iyengar’s disciple along with many in German team.

American yogi Patrick Bloome, speaking about his role in preparing the World Cup champions, says, “Yoga benefits a soccer player in many ways. For a starter, it helps prevent injuries because it makes the body more flexible. It helps build stronger muscles which they usually don’t use. During mega championships like the World Cup where there is a lot of pressure, Yoga helps players beat anxiety and nervousness.”

Yoga in prisons brings in change

Since 2010, under ‘Prison Freedom Project’ Yoga classes have been introduced in prisons all over South Africa. The aim is to create an environment conducive to peace, well-being and wholeness. “All I could see in the world was violence, jealousy and anger,” says Bradley Hess, an inmate. With Yoga, we are able to keep calm and control our emotions, he says. “Yoga has a way of bringing us into our hearts. All round us there are people in every field creating the life they want to live,” he adds.

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Tendulkar practices Yoga

Sachin Tendulkar, the little master, who has created record in scoring centuries in cricket says Yoga Guru B.K.S .Iyengar helped him a lot in his career and has been practising ever since.

Modi and Yoga

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a one-on-one talk with former US President Barrack Obama during his visit to India as the President, Obama remarked that while he has 4 hours of sleep, Modi slept only for 3 hours.

Indians are aware of Modi’s amazing capacity for hard work and despite keeping a punishing schedule he remains fresh and does not exhibit any signs of strain or fatigue. If Modi does not show any signs of tiredness and fatigue, it is because of Yoga. That is how despite being at the receiving end of worst type of unfair criticism, Modi remains like a ‘Sthithapragnya,’ taking everything in his stride.

Many people perhaps are not aware that long before he became the Prime Minister, Modi went through two months of training in Bengaluru at Arogya Dhama — Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA) at Jigani under the tutelage of Dr. R. Nagendra, who taught him techniques of breathing, meditation and concentration.

Arogya Dhama has presently become a deemed University. Now, recently the University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced that an Inter-University Centre on Yogic Sciences (IUC-YS) will be established at S-VYASA. It will have the objective of serving as a resource centre in the field of Yogic Sciences catering to the academic and research interest of institutions, faculty and students engaged in the field of Yogic Sciences. The estimated cost to establish the centre is Rs. 100 crore.

7 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “PM Modi’s initiative has created Yoga Revolution”

  1. skywalker says:

    What an exaggerated nonsense about Yoga!
    Yoga helps humans in many ways, but within limits. To say that the success of football players and their team is be simply attributed to Yoga alone, is stuff and nonsense. Gotze, who this author asserts was helped by Yoga did not do well after that win and indeed,his achievements since then are so few that he is not rated highly at all now. His value as a footballer has nosedived. The German football Team which won the World Cup in 2014 is not doing well at all, in Russia now in this 2018 World Cup- in fact, it is struggling and cannot handle minnows in their Group. the other day, it just scrapped a last minute win and has stayed in their Group just., without going out of the World Cup. Note that this team has most of the 2014 players and how come these Yoga practitioners are performing so bad now? Did they stop practicing Yoga? If they did, it does not say well of Yoga at all! Indian politicians will do anything to grab attention, and Modi is no exception. The readers will be interested to know the daily Yoga chores of Modi, just to make sure that he is indeed a life-time Yoga practitioner.

    • skywalker says:

      Just to add to the above, Mario Gotze is just 26, which is an age when all sportsmen reach their maximum potential. Yet, poor Gotze, the Yoga practitioner is not even in the current 23 member squad of the German team, in the 2018 World Cup in Russia!

  2. Ravi says:

    Another article from SOM to lick Modi.
    Agree that Yoga helps you to focus but it would be foolish to zoom one’s success to just Yoga only.
    Modi has shamelessly used Yoga like many other things to boost his own profile.

  3. Madhu says:

    Some people seem to have a problem with yoga, modi and Hinduism! Some people think Yoga is Hindu, they can’t be convinced that it is not! Secondly, it was in India for centuries, taught and progressed! Of late West started adopting as a exercise! That is what modi seems to have stopped . Yoga has not served modi but it is the other way round! He seems to have stopped the theft! Like curcumin which is an Indian spice for 6000 plus years, USA was try g to patent it! If modi had not taken up advocating yoga, it would have the same route . Some islamists think Yoga in against Islam so, Congress and communists inherit that thought for vote bank reasons!Some groups who are ‘harvesting the souls ‘ using illegal funds and Saudi Arabia and Paki terrorists think that may unite Hindus! So, everybody has their reason to hate modi and yoga!

  4. skywalker says:

    Indians forget that Buddhists have their meditation and techniques, and in particular the Chinese form of bodily exercises plus the meditation combined are dominant today in the West.

  5. thethreewisemen says:

    Yoga in ancient times existed in many forms. Indians ( we count ourselves as Indians) practiced one kind, and Buddhists in China made a form of Yoga and meditation as their own, and this was more successful, and this kind is widely practiced in Western countries. Indians as usual exaggerate the benefits of Yoga, and link this Hinduism , where as it can be claimed that it is equally linked to Buddhism as it emerged in China.
    @ Madhu. Yours is hyperbole. Stick with the topic in question. The claims of Yoga were blown up to encompass sports by this article, and that is so ridiculous. Whether Modi followers like it or not, Modi takes up every fad and associates with himself. There were better topics to be addressed at the UN-the talkshop.

  6. Rahul says:

    As the headline of the article goes, if Yoga has created revolution then I wonder why cant I find Modi or his colleagues fit at all.
    Modi claims to perform Yoga couple of hours every day (before starting 18 hours work for the country). I never found him to be Fit unlike global leaders David Cameroon, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Shizbo Abe etc. He always looks like a grumpy old man.
    Coming to one of the comment saying Westerners stealing Yoga, I think we have heard this logic enough number of times right from our childhood saying “Its coz Westerners that we have every problem in India”. Sick!


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