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Ramdev, Sri Sri unite to take on new-age promoters of ‘synthetic’ yoga

Baba Ramdev, Art of Living head Sri Sri Ravishankar and Shantikunj head Pranav Pandiya recently met in Haridwar and formed the Indian Yoga Association, headed by Ramdev.(HT Photo)

The country’s top three exponents of “authentic yoga” have joined hands to stop the likes of Shilpa Shetty, Bikram Chaudhary and Ana T Forrest from giving a modern twist to the ancient Indian practice of mental and physical exercise.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravishankar and Shantikunj head Pranav Pandiya recently floated Indian Yoga Association at Haridwar in Uttarakhand to take on the new-age promoters of what they called ‘synthetic yoga.’

They also formed a technical committee to work out the modalities of their action plan and submit a report to the Centre before the next International Yoga Day on June 21.

Ramdev, whose Patanjali Ayurvedic Limited has a turnover of R 5,000 crores, will head the association.

Shetty’s ‘Quick Fix Yoga’, Chaudhary’s famous ‘Hot Yoga’ and Ana’s specially-designed ‘Forrest Yoga’ have millions of followers worldwide. But the ‘trinity’ of traditional Indian yoga is not impressed.

“Some people have designed the ‘Hot Yoga’, some have founded European Yoga…It’s an ancient Indian practice and India should have intellectual property rights over it (yoga),” said Pranav Pandiya.

Yoga is believed to have emerged as a money-minting industry with the annual business touching roughly anything between $30 -50 million. Hundreds of yoga studios are being run across the US, UK and Europe, besides India.

Ramdev, Sri Sri and Pranav Pandiya have their own centres in several countries. Through these centres, they now plan to spread the traditional version of the breathing exercise.

They also collaborated with a Portugal-based yoga master, Amrta Suryananda Maharaj, who was conferred Padma Shri in 2015, to prevent the concoction.

The trio said their objective is not only to promote ancient yoga but also to bring uniformity in the yoga curriculum taught in various schools and universities.

“Our aim is to spread Indian yoga world over. The idea is also to bring uniformity in yoga education so that we can have trained yoga professionals,” said Ramdev.

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