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Formation of Indian Yoga Association to create global standards in Yoga education

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    From: http://www.discover-yoga-online.com/yoga-association.html India Bends Toward Yoga Regulation: The formation of the Indian Yoga Association signals
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 22, 2008
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      India Bends Toward Yoga Regulation: The formation of the Indian Yoga
      Association signals recognition of the need to create global standards
      in yoga education.
      By: Yogacharya

      After years of consultation with eminent yoga experts, India's
      Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddhi and
      Homeopathy (AYUSH), along with the Ministry of Health and Family
      Welfare, has overseen the establishment of the Indian Yoga Association
      (IYA), a self-regulatory body responsible for establishing standards
      for accrediting yoga institutions, yoga curriculums and yoga therapy.

      This recent development in India signals the first official government
      sanctioning of efforts to regulate the tradition of yoga, and it is
      appropriate that India, the motherland of yoga, and the Indian
      government, which has become increasingly aware of the need to protect
      and preserve its cultural heritage, should take this historical
      initiative and lay a much needed foundation for establishing a
      credible standard of yoga education and practice.

      Perhaps more importantly, it is also the first time that
      representatives from all the major lineages of yoga across India have
      come together in search of a common regulatory goal.

      This news, however, may not bode so well with yogis around the world.
      Many practitioners and teachers of yoga might wonder just what this
      means for yoga, their current status as teachers and institutions, and
      their various yoga practices. It may be too early to tell, but the IYA
      is already feeling pressure by those who feel that their approach to
      yoga may be compromised by any standardization.

      As Smt. Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Acharya of Ananda Ashram in
      Pondicherry, India says; "No one can argue that the wild mushrooming
      of Yoga Institutes and Yoga schools and the rapid proliferation of
      so-called Yoga Teachers is truly alarmingÂ… Clearly, some
      regularization, standardization, clarification, and accreditation is
      the need of the hour."

      How to do this will certainly be a challenge. The word `yoga' today
      has taken on many new and often strange associations. There is much
      debate, even in India, over what this ancient science is all about and
      what it holds in store for those who engage in it.

      First, and perhaps foremost, will be the task of defining the term
      yoga. The measurement of the quality of yoga teachings will also
      another hot topic of debate. As Dr. KD Sharma, former director of the
      Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, states: "Those
      concerned with ensuring quality yoga education are well aware of the
      difficulties of assessing and regulating this subject. [Yoga] is not
      physical educationÂ… and hence, its value cannot be assessed by normal
      academic measures. It is an Indian art and science, not a foreign
      concept of physical training, and cannot be measured by the foreign
      [Western] standards of education."

      The board members of the Indian Yoga Association must also grapple
      with the relevance of the age-old guru-chela (teacher-student)
      relationship, as well as the significance of the paramparai (yoga
      lineage) tradition, both of which have always been an integral part of
      yoga's foundation but have become increasingly discounted by the
      modern approach to yoga and its teaching. So has the relevance of the
      very culture from which the teachings of yoga have sprung. These
      issues and their significance to the future of yoga are no small
      matters to consider.

      Anyone who has ever been to India knows that the wheels of Indian
      bureaucracy turn slowly. With much at stake, and under the direction
      of a group of eminent masters who have dedicated their lives to the
      preservation and propagation of this ancient science of life, these
      decisions are not likely to come easily, nor quickly.

      The Founding Members of the IYA are:
      Dr. B.K. S. Iyengar (Pune); Shri. O.P. Tiwari (Kaivalyadhama,
      Lonavala); Dr. H.R. Nagendra (VYASA, Banglore); Dr. S.P. Mishra
      (Haridwar), Smt. Hansa Jayadev (Yoga Institute, Mumbai); Shri. S.
      Shridharan (Krishnamacharya Yoga Institute, Chennai); Smt. Meenakshi
      Devi Bhavanani (ICYER, Puducherry); Shri. Shrdhalu Ranade (Aurobindo
      Ashram, Puducherry); Dr. Swami Ananta Bharti (Swami Rama Ashram,
      Delhi); Dr. K.Krishna Bhat (Manglore University, Manglore); Dr. Ishwar
      Bharadwaj (Haridwar); Dr. M.Venkanta Reddy (Hydrabad); Swami
      Mangaltirtham (Bihar School of Yoga, Munger); Dr. Swami
      Shankaranandaji (Munger); Swami Dharmanand (Delhi); Dr. Anil Singhal
      (Himalayan Institute of Yoga, Deheradun)
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