New Emissary

Yoga for Nepal

The ancient practice is big in Nepal-and even being endorsed by its government.

Having been neighbours for so long, could it be only now that one of India’s most ancient practices has begun seeping steadily into Nepal as a significant movement?

According to a recent article in the Times of India, the answer is yes, and it’s in large part thanks to technology. Yoga is fast becoming a major trend in urban Nepal through Indian TV, in particular lifestyle and holistic health programs, along with things like yoga instruction CDs and video tapes that effectively carry the methods and philosophies into the cities.

So great is Nepal’s new attraction to yoga that the Nepalese government has begun to officially endorse it. It has been reported that yoga also has positive effects on Nepalese citizens battling drug addiction and high stress from work. The country’s prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, was quoted late last month stating that yoga will even, assisted by his government, soon be introduced in schools, and that the practice is a form of cultural diplomacy as it’s strengthening ties between Nepal and India.

And it turns out that along with technology, there’s one particular Indian man who is being credited with the rising popularity of yoga in Nepal. Swami Ramdev, called ‘one of India’s most popular and influential gurus,’ recently by the New York Times, has in the past few years started running a five-day yoga camp with the Patanjali Yogpeeth institution at Tundikhiel in Katmandu. The guru, with the help of the Nepalese government, who has also opened up several other yoga projects in other areas of the country, has also reportedly expressed a desire to bring yoga next to Burma, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Whether for soft power or softening tense muscles, it seems yoga will soon be taken on by a lot more people in Asia.