Not everyone would be able to flaunt the title of a yoga instructor or yoga guru now. The Narendra Modi government is all set to roll out a standardised benchmarking system, to accredit those in the business of teaching yoga, on June 22.
The system, which will be announced a day after India and the world celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21, would hold good not just in India, but also abroad.
While yoga has been taught and practised in India and abroad for long, strict quality control and regulation would be introduced in the field for the first time. The move is expected to stoke the mutual rivalry that already exists between top yoga gurus of the country.According to Dr RP Singh, secretary general of Quality Council of India (QCI) – the agency devising the benchmarking system – the logic is that yoga needs to be standardised so as to make it a truly global discipline and prevent masqueraders from bringing a bad name to the ancient discipline.
After having won a major diplomatic victory amid the comity of nations by getting the United Nations (UN) to declare June 21 as International Yoga Day -which is expected to be a major affair even globally – the Modi government is going in for standardisation of the practice and profession of yoga by rolling out an accreditation system which would rank practitioners and teachers of yoga according to their level of expertise.
“After International Yoga Day, yoga will become the mascot of India all across the world and without standardisation, it would be a dangerous situation. We have devised a benchmarking system for this discipline in association with and with the help of a number of top-notch yoga organisations of the country. We want all yoga trainers and teachers to have a certain minimum qualification and expertise level to profess the discipline. Not everyone can now call himself or herself a yoga trainer and open shop.
We will categorise teachers as per their level of expertise and only the top would be given the title of a yoga guru,” Singh told MAIL TODAY.
“As we are the ones to have given the world the discipline of yoga and are now professing it on a global scale, the consensus was that India should be the one to come up with a benchmarking system,” he added.
According to a highly placed source in the government, a high-powered board of recognised top yoga gurus of India, too, would be constituted to carry out the new regulatory regime. MAIL TODAY learnt that Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art-of-Living fame and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yoga teacher Dr HR Nagendra of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anushandhan Samsthana in Bengaluru may be the key faces of this possible apex board on yoga regulation and monitoring countrywide and for pushing the agenda abroad.
A top source in the government added that benchmarking and the constitution of the board is not as easy as said, as the big names in yoga, including the babas and gurus holding strong public clout, may trigger a power struggle within the board.
The benchmarking, as said a senior official, “would lead to rifts for favouring some and excluding others on standards”. The struggle would be also on who would emerge as the top leader of this board. Perhaps, a battle for the yoga top seat is in the offing.
However, the BJP feels that the proposed board would serve a twin purpose. While it will accommodate the big names in the discipline, the latter would help consolidate the BJP and the RSS agenda among voters.