International Yoga Day is celebrated on 21st June. The day is being celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm especially after Modi became Prime Minister. Many political leaders, spiritual leaders, and others, in India is thumping chest, indirectly claiming as people like they have taken yoga to the next level or to the global level. Well, before anyone takes things the other way, it is here to mention that it is unarguably true that the concept of yoga and meditation have incepted in India. No doubt the Vedas is the original source of true form of yoga. But, modern day Indians don’t really deserve to take the credit of the ongoing “yoga revolution”, at least at the international level.
Yes, it can also be claimed that the likes of Ramdev should also not make such claim; at international level. No doubt, Ramdev should be given credits for yoga revolution in India. But, it is true that Yoga revolution was already started abroad even when Ramdev was not recognized in India. Celebrities from Hollywood have embraced yoga at early 90s.
In an interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show in 1998 itself, Madona said that Ashtanga Yoga during her pregnancy made her “centered”. In fact, renowned Yogi Rodney Yee was invited to Oprah’s show back in 2001, when the likes of Ramdev and Karamveer were doing free campaigns in India.
Very few people would know that Oprah is conducting a company-sponsored weekly yoga class for her staffs after Roodney Yee came to her show.
Supermodel Christy Turlington had featured in a story called “The Power of Yoga” in 2001 itself in Times magazine. It is said that by 2001, around 15 million Americans were already in to yoga practise. This was the time when Ramdev and Astha channel were not even in picture.
Indian yoga revolution; Thanks to the TRP hunt!
Today Baba Ramdev is showered with all credits for yoga revolution in India. But, like every producer, Kirit Mehta, the chairman and managing director of CMM Broadcasting remains the unsung hero in this regard. A journalist friend of Mr. Mehta, brought the idea of starting a spiritual TV channel, when Indian TV landscape was ruled by the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law dramas. Mr. Mehta initially laughed at the idea. But, he later realised that there is certainly a scope. In fact, within one month after the channel “Aastha” started, another spiritual channel “Sanskar” initiated. Aaastha made sensations when they telecasted “Maha Kumbh Mela” live.
However, later Mr. Mehta realised that the spiritual songs or speeches can’t really fill the void of contents for his channel. He thought there should be some scope for health and fitness through traditional methods, which can be incredible content idea.
This was the phase when Indian celebrities were getting inspired through Hollywood stars doing yoga. They were certainly missing proper yoga trainers in the nation. Mr. Mehta realised finding such a trainer would indeed help his channel get some real views.
He later discovered “Baba Ramdev” doing yoga at one of the free campaigns they were running. Mr. Mehta was thoroughly impressed with Ramdev’s moves. Especially the churning of stomach impressed him a lot. He was impressed with Karamveer as well, but as Karamveer had not obtained his complete celibacy or “Sanyas”, Mehta though Ramdev should be given the stage.
And the rest is a history!