India’s HRD Ministry today announced that the Government is looking to pass a Law regarding 33% Reservation for Men in all Yoga ashrams and centers across India. The Indian Government has been closely associated with Yoga ever since the PM had called for the United Nations to adopt June 21st as the International Day of Yoga in 2014. In fact, at the International Yoga Day last year, the PM was part of 35,000 people who did Yoga together at Rajpath in Delhi. This was organised by the AYUSH Ministry creating the Guinness World Record for the largest Yoga class!
The HRD Minister said that, ‘Yoga is a part of India’s spiritual and cultural heritage, and traditionally most Yogis were Men. In fact, even the Gods do Yoga!’ The statement went on to say that the trend of Women being a majority in modern, studio Yoga classes was a Western Yoga influence where Yoga is treated mainly as an exercise form. In fact, the latest Yoga Journal & Yoga Alliance statistics in the U.S. show that 81% of Yogis in studio classes are women.
India’s Yoga Gurus throw their weight behind the proposed law
This announcement from the HRD Ministry has been hailed by India’s pre-eminent troika of Yoga Gurus. Incidentally, Baba, Sri Sri and Sadguru had supported the PM’s call for International Day of Yoga and had conducted mass events last June 21st. In fact, Sri Sri had conducted a Yoga session at the UN General Assembly in New York.
International Yoga Brands to wait and watch before launching in India
Lululemon, Gaiam and Manduka – the best-known international Yoga merchandise brands have been waiting to enter into the booming Indian Yoga market. Lululemon has said that they will wait and see if the Law gets passed and then will have to review their strategy for the Indian market. They will commence research work on a Yogi Dhoti for the Indian man. They feel that the Yoga Pants for Women market is saturated and Yoga wear for Men will now drive the industry forward. Incidentally, Indian brand ProYog already sells a Men’s Dhoti to use during practice. Other international sportswear giants are looking forward to increased sales of Yoga mats.
Today, the Hot Yoga brand has announced a Hot Broga class exclusively for Men in a bid to raise the ratio of Men who are members of their studios in India.
Yoga Journal just announced that they will break their tradition and feature a male Yogi on their cover for the 1st time in 20 years! Few of the male Yogis to grace the cover when YJ first began have been BKS, Dharma Mitra, Osho.
Protests about Freedom of Expression and Violation of Sacred Space
Meanwhile, reports suggest that a students’ rally has been organised in J.N.U. campus to protest what they are calling a violation of an Individual’s Freedom of Expression. The Students’ body says that doing Yoga is a personal choice and the Government should not interfere in this.
A Womens’ Group is also organising a protest march in Delhi today at 6pm. The Women are saying that now they will be coerced by their Yoga centers to bring their husbands and boy-friends to attend their Yoga class. They strongly feel that the 33% reservation would de-list the Yoga class as one of the few places where women could genuinely be ‘themselves’!
We haven’t been able to speak to any Mens’ groups yet to find their reactions.
In a sad twist of events, on April 1st, this Author has been found lying in Shavasana all morning! Cause of Death? Laughter Yoga presumably!
Happy April Fools’ Day YOGIS!
(Yogi, Speaker & Author, Co-founder of the Total Yoga style of Yoga with studios in B’lore, Pune, Delhi, California & leading Meditation retreats in the Himalayas!)