Yoga has been steadily netting students and practitioners in the Capital, spurred on by the marking of the discipline with an International Day, it appears.
The four-week foundation course at the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, an autonomous organisation under the AYUSH ministry, attracts 200 participants every month.
Almost 90% of them want to stay on and learn more, said institute director Dr Ishwar Basaraddi. “People who once experience the benefits of yoga want to definitely continue it,” he said.
Huaz Khas-based yoga instructor Seema Sondhi attributed Yoga’s rising popularity among Delhiites to the Yoga Day. “Although Europeans and Americans were increasingly doing yoga, it was dying in India. We were too focused on modernisation and gymming. The Yoga Day has brought our traditional practice to the forefront,” said Sondhi, who has been running classes in Delhi for the past two decades.
She felt the trend is also fuelled by Delhiites becoming more health conscious and open to a holistic approach.
Similarly, the number of applications for a diploma to train as yoga trainers at the Morarji institute has almost tripled.
“After the celebration of the first Yoga Day, we got 569 applications. The year before, we got 220. The interesting thing is that doctors, engineers and people from other professions are also choosing to do the course,” said Dr Basaraddi.
This year on International Yoga Day, twice as many people turned up at Atre Yoga Studio in south Delhi’s Shahpur Jat, said instructor Zubin Atre. “The people who came for this class stuck on for regular classes,” said Atre, also the author of ‘It takes two to Yoga’.
After the first International Yoga Day last year, he saw a surge in the number of queries for a 200-hour teacher training course that he runs.
Yoga trainer Preeti Kumari echoes the view. Since June 21 this year, she has been getting 30 calls every day.
“There is usually a surge in the number of people enquiring for classes right after the Yoga day, but this year we are seeing that most people who called followed through and joined the class,” said the trainer with Nityam Yoga Centre in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar.
The celebration is also making Yoga a mass movement, felt Dr Basaraddi. “This year, several organisations volunteered to conduct the event and train people before Yoga Day. People spontaneously joined the celebration across 200-odd locations in the city. People, several times more than what was expected, turned up at the venues where the event was organised by the AYUSH ministry,” he said.
Taking a cue from people’s positive response to Yoga, the AYUSH ministry is also trying to make it more accessible by stationing trainers at parks.
Hospitals such as the All India Institute of Medical Institute have also integrated Yoga with their treatment regimen. “Yoga classes have been happening at the institute for the last 10 years maybe, but, there is more focus now,” said Dr Rima Dada, a professor at the lab for molecular reproduction and genetics at AIIMS. She said they have been studying Yoga’s impact on ageing, infertility, rheumatoid arthritis and glaucoma for three years now.