Yoga as an export of India is also not novel — it has touched the shores of every nation and continent
Yoga is one of the many great gifts ancient India has given to humanity and the world. It is a deeply introspective tool, whose efficacy has been proven by centuries of practice within Indian culture, and yet, is not a religious ceremony or ritual but a way of life embracing all humans.
Like any body of knowledge that has survived millennia, yoga works at many levels — it is a spiritual introspection which enhances lived wisdom; it is good for health; and it is extremely adaptive so as to suit the needs of anyone, across ages, body types and fitness levels, helping every practitioner.
Great sages, rishis and yogis have practised and perfected not only the positions and breathing techniques of yoga, but have also created and passed on, from generation to generation, the manner and method of teaching, showcasing and demonstrating it, making it possible for the next generation, or a newbie, to learn the art.
Yoga as an export of India is also not novel — it has touched the shores of every nation and continent and has found its own offshoots in different parts of the world based on its own strength and the benefits it has to offer but also the convictions and purity of purpose of those great teachers who took it there.
Over the ages, people who have learnt and adopted yoga are as diverse as humanity itself. If yoga is an eternal truth, a way of life, a life perfectly and conveniently compatible with the modern way of life, then it still has to be acknowledged that one of its greatest torchbearers in contemporary times is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Beyond mundane electoral politics and necessary obligations of foreign relationships and trade talks, Mr Modi has from his first day in office been a trustee of the viewpoint that he must be the brand ambassador for India, and its deepest and greatest values, speaking in Hindi, an Indian language, with pride, quoting from the Vedas at global platforms and taking charge of popularising yoga.
If yoga is unity of the body, mind and soul, Mr Modi has achieved such a oneness of purpose with the zeal to promote it across the world, while showcasing India not only as a rising, modern-day democracy but also simultaneously as an ancient living civilisation.
No other Indian has matched his mission to take yoga to every human being on the planet. It is a picture of the achievement of his aspiration that the United Nations accepted his suggestion to celebrate June 21 each year as the International Day of Yoga, and in fairness, he was there at the lawns of the UN headquarters and secretariat in New York to celebrate it.
In his message, he has spoken for all things Indian when he said, “Yoga is for everyone, for better health, for a better planet, for a better lifestyle and a healthier, happier humanity.”