Beijing, June 20 (IANS) Yoga has gained immense popularity in China over the years, so much so that the government has approached Indian experts of the discipline to train teachers in the varsities of Beijing.
Yogi Yoga, a well-known yoga institute run by an Indian, is in talks with China’s sports ministry that apparently wants the Physical Education Teachers (PET) in universities to be taught yoga in the “right manner”.
“We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with Beijing University to train their PETs. This model could be adopted in other universities as we are in touch with sports ministry,” Yogi Mohan, founder of Yogi Yoga, told IANS.
Founded in Beijing in 2003, Yogi Yoga now has branches in Shanghai and Guangzhou. The institute imparts training in the ancient discipline which is catching on in China.
“Yoga as practised by elite until 2003 is no longer the fashion in China. The government wants the training (of yoga) to be imparted to teachers in the manner it is done,” said Mohan who came to China in 2003.
More and more Chinese are turning to the discipline which was a fad until 2000. It is said that fitness clubs in Beijing are considered incomplete without yoga instructors and the number of yoga institutes in Beijing’s Chaoyang district has shot up from 3 in 2003 to around 1,000 in 2015.
Increasing health problems and mental stress among the middle class in China seem to be driving them towards Yoga, which many wrongly think, has its roots in the US.
“I have no health problem but I still practise some yoga postures. I feel incomplete, if I don’t meditate,” Sui Hui, a female doctor, told IANS.
Interestingly, in an officially atheist country, where religion in public is off-limits, many Chinese chant Gayatri Mantra – a chant in Sanskrit from ancient scriptures.
“Chanting has nothing to do with religion. Chanting is also there in Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It helps you create vibrations in your body,” Mohan explained.
According to China’s official news agency Xinhua, Yoga was first introduced into China by Hong Kong practitioner Wai Lana in the 1980s.
“Her workout programs, which aired daily on China’s Central Television, were the starting point for many Chinese yogis,” the agency said.
In his visit to India in 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping had said his wife Peng Liyuan practised yoga.