Popular Indian guru Swami Ramdev's unique 'yoga for health' brand has been launched in the US.
Ramdev started his first camp in Long Island, New York, June 30. Over 1,300 people attended the morning and evening sessions held in a big hall in Nassau Community College. The swami's style of yoga has, however, preceded him.
Many camp participants narrated the benefits they have received after following his 'pranayam' (yogic breathing techniques) from his DVD/CDs or watching him on cable television.
Ramdev also showed that benefits of yoga are demonstrable and immediate. Ten overweight people volunteered to have their weight checked before and after the session. Amazingly, the weight reduction ranged from 0 to 5 pounds.
The camp participants were predominantly Indian Americans. "Every person reported feeling satisfied," said Animesh Goenka, a businessman who has organised Ramdev camps in New York and New Jersey. In New Jersey, Goenka has made arrangements for 3,000 participants.
Bhupesh Chandra, a physics student at Columbia University in Manhattan, was told by his parents to attend. "It's been worthwhile," he said after the first day of the two-day camp.
Ramdev is accompanied by a group of ayurveda practitioners, who give free consultations to camp participants on the ancient Indian system of medicine.
To coincide with Ramdev's first yoga camp in the US, Aastha channel is set to launch eight daily programmes in the country July 4, America's Independence Day. Aastha signal is available in the US on DirecTV.
"The programmes, already aired in India, are on subjects including Vedas and Upanishads," Kirit Mehta, founder and head of Aastha channel, told IANS.
Ramdev's regular programme teaching asanas (yogic postures) and his pet three pranayams -- kapalbhati, bhastrika and anulom-vilom -- are the most popular on Aastha which claims a viewership of 300 million globally. This programme is now available in English on weekends in the US.
Asked if Aastha made Ramdev or Ramdev made Aastha, Mehta said: "Both happened together!"