The government has appointed yoga teachers in Indian missions overseas, who will also have the mandate to deliver talks on history, philosophy and traditions of Indian art and culture, in addition to holding yoga camps, sources said on Sunday. They will also have to teach allied fields, like naturopathy, pranik healing, Reiki, among other things.

The move is seen as an attempt to push India as a soft power. “The objective is to have trained yoga teachers and volunteers in all American states, who would then train others,” Mox Raj, teacher of Indian Culture at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC said.

Raj is part of the first batch of 24 teachers of Indian culture who have been dispatched to various diplomatic missions to Europe, Africa and other parts of the world. Including him, three teachers have recently joined Indian diplomatic missions in Washington DC. The other two have been sent to New York and Chicago.

Sources in Delhi revealed that these culture diplomats hold Bachelor’s degree along with a diploma/certificate course in yoga from a government or renowned cultural institution or university with five years teaching experience in English. They were selected on the basis of their knowledge of Indian history, philosophy and traditions of Indian art and culture.The teachers have been chosen through the ICCR.

Teachers for various dance forms, including Odissi, Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi, are also being deputed to give lectures and demonstrations on Indian art, culture, history among others.