Spreading the ancient teachings of yoga for 102 years, The Yoga Institute, is based in Santaruz, Mumbai. Founded in 1918 by Shri Yogendraji, who is now known as the Father of the Modern Yoga Renaissance, this prestigious institute is the oldest centre of yoga in the world.
The founder believed and wanted to propagate the idea that the practice of yoga is not meant only for the sages who reside in the mountains, but also for householders.
The centre has been teaching yoga to students, providing certified teacher training courses, conducting workshops and more. It sees thousands of students from different countries, coming to India, to learn the old yoga sutras. On the occasion of International Yoga Day, we spoke to Dr Hansaji Yogendra, Director, The Yoga Institute, to know more about the centre.
How many foreign nationals come to the Yoga Institute to learn yoga each year?
We teach more than 1,000 students per year.
How many of these students have set up their own practices in their respective countries?
Around 30 per cent of them set up their own studios, while a few set up The Yoga Institute branches. Many of them also come for self development.
Which countries do a maximum number of students coming from?
We see more students from USA, UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy and Spain.
Are there any countries or cities that have started to warm up to yoga only recently?
Yes, the Middle Eastern countries, especially Abu Dhabi. There’s also a rise in the number of students from South Africa and Sri Lanka.
What is the value of yoga in terms of business in India viz-a-viz abroad?
Based on the multifold and comprehensive benefits of yoga, career and business opportunities in yoga are expanding phenomenally in India as well all over the world.
Can you possibly name a few former students, who have created a yoga brand/studio for themselves?
Bob Butera (USA), Jinal Mehta (Wise Living: Chiang Mai, Thailand), Ajinkya (Ajinkya Mehr Studio: Mumbai), Dharma Yoga Karuna (Dharmayogakaruna: Italy), Sneha Arora (Dubai) among many others.
Can you name a suggest a few immunity-building and stress-relieving asanas?
Almost all techniques of yoga, directly or indirectly, help boost immunity and reduce stress. Some of the few asanas practices that can be attempted at home are Talasana, Trikonasana, Konasana, Vakrasna, Parvatasana, Gaumukhasana, Bhadrasana, Pawanmktasana and Setubandhasana. Along with these, one needs to practice conscious relaxation techniques like Nispand bhava, Shavasnas and breathing techniques like Yogendra Pranayama 4 (abdominal breathing), Anulom Vilom and Bramhri.
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On the occasion of International Yoga Day, what message would you like to give to yoga enthusiasts?
The whole world is going through a tough time and yoga is the only saviour. On this International Yoga Day, we should start practising yoga with zest, enthusiasm and joy with the family.