Spotlight back on yoga and wellness as International Conference on Yoga kicks off

Yoga under the Modi administration has assumed greater significance than ever before and is being promoted by the highest echelons of the government. Efforts to mainstream yoga recently got another booster shot as the 3rd International Conference of Yoga kicked off in the capital. Inaugurated by the Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu, the conference, organized by ministry of AYUSH, with the theme “Yoga for Wellness”, brought more than 25 national and international experts from yoga and medical field under one roof to moot the way forward for yoga and wellness segments.

Yoga and wellness segments have been attracting discerning tourists from world over, for several decades, and have gained rapid traction, especially in the masses, in the recent years. The United Nations decided to celebrate Intranational Day of Yoga, lending it more global prominence. Add to that, domestic tourists seeking holistic health care and escape from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives has transformed this segment into an extremely lucrative proposition for industry stakeholders. These numbers amply demonstrate the growing cloud of the segment: as per several researches, the total industry size is expected to push USD 160 billion by 2017 and USD 280 billion by 2020. If nurtured with right policies and efficient implementation, these segments can emerge as strongest pegs of India’s tourism.

However, much remains to be done. Phoney ashrams have propped up all across yoga towns of Ujjain, Rishikesh, Haridwar, and in Kerala, among others. In the absence of accreditation, these centres bring ill-repute to the industry and, indeed, the country.

The government has indicated that the draft tourism policy has incorporated several measures to streamline centres and provide accreditation to those following laid procedures – which should plug in a major policy level loophole. 

Earlier, during his inaugural address at the conference, the Vice President explained that Yoga was the “mother of all exercises and provides physical fitness, mental alertness as well as spiritual succour.”  He further said that yoga had nothing to do with religion as some people unfortunately attributed religious overtones to this ancient scientific system. 

Addressing the participants, the Minister of State (IC) for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik Shared that the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy Council had decided to set up four Central Research Institutes each with 100 bedded hospital and two Post-Graduate Institutes of Yoga and Naturopathy – one in Haryana and another in Karnataka.

The Ministry was also in the process of establishing National Level Institutes of Yoga and Naturopathy in Goa and Panchkula (Haryana) to impart post graduate education and research and tertiary health care services, he said.

The third edition of the conference comes after international conferences on the themes of ‘Yoga for Holistic Health’ and ‘Yoga for Body and Beyond’ – which were organized in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

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