Jaipur: Foreign tourists visiting the Rajasthan capital are not just city hopping but have a definite purpose of late -- they are coming to learn yoga and taking it to their native shores.
These travellers to the culturally-rich city learn mudra and meditation, and then go on to open yoga centres in their countries to reap the twin benefits of health and wealth there.
Speaking to IANS, Palma from Spain, says, "There is a yoga boom in Spain. When I came to Jaipur for six months with my husband on an official tour, I was suggested by my niece, who runs a yoga centre for corporates in Barcelona, to learn the art of yoga and meditation during my stay. She said people in Spain wanted to practice yoga and it would be good if I learn it.
"I did my quick search and zeroed in on one of the centres. It was an amazing feeling to learn this ancient practice, which made me calm, agile and active. On return to Spain, I shall be starting my yoga classes in October as September is pretty hot and people are in holiday mood.".
"Everybody there is excited to know that they will be having a yoga centre right there with a certified trainer," Palma said.
Says Sharon from Hong Kong, "After completing yoga training in Jaipur, I returned to Hong Kong and started teaching at yoga studios. Currently, I'm implementing mindfulness and yoga to make a difference in young bodies and minds at an international primary school. I also work there as a full-time primary school teacher."
Bhupinder, employed in a Dubai hotel, learned yoga in Jaipur and is now conducting yoga classes there on part-time basis. When IANS contacted him, he was busy with his yoga students. "It's a great experience to teach people this ancient art, which keeps them healthy and active," he said.
While these professionals have taken yoga to the next level in foreign lans, Daphn Dudemaine, a yoga professional in France, plans to visit India with her students to take part in yoga sessions here and introduce them to the rich cultural legacy of this nation.
"I am a yoga integral teacher. I impart yoga to groups, associations and yoga studios. I also give private lessons and organise yoga internships and retreats in France or other nations. In 2020, I will organise yoga retreats in Cyprus and Greece. India is also on my calendar. I will visit India in October/November to prepare this project. With this, I want to share yoga and introduce my students to the Indian culture," Dudemaine said.
On the occasion of the International Yoga Day, I organised an event that was open to all of my city to discover yoga. After the first edition, I went to the Indian embassy in Paris, who supported me for the 2nd edition, Dudemaine said.
Not only these foreign guests are taking yoga beyond borders, Indian too are spreading this ancient art of meditation across the globe.
Jayawardhan Rathore had gone to France to learn French. Driven by the passion to make a cultural exchange, Rathore started free yoga classes there.
Rathore, an assistant professor in a private university here, said, "I went to France for a short-term course. As I had completed 200 hours of yoga, I started yoga classes there with an idea to learn French from them and teach them yoga.
Initially, he started once-a-week-four-month yoga sessions at a park with friends. It was not-paid kind of session to make the French aware of yoga. It received a huge response. Around 50 people, in the 20-40 year age group, which included doctors, teachers, researchers and corporate groups started taking part in the session.
Yogi Umesh Sharma, director, Yogasthali Jaipur, said, "Students are coming from all parts of the world, like Australia, Brazil, Dubai, Spain, the UK and America, which proves yoga has no religion. They are quite eager to learn the art of yoga. They come with an aim and purpose. Hence, it's easy to teach them.
"Many have returned to their countries and have started own centres. We keep in touch and they share how happy their students are after learning yoga. Around 50 of my students have completed teacher training course and have started their centres in foreign nations."
"While we all know Rishikesh is world yoga capital, tourists here have fallen in love with yoga teaching. Hence, it won't be wrong to say Jaipur is next to Rishikesh in this context," Sharma remarked.