NEW DELHI — Yoga, the ancient Indian discipline for spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing, will soon be given the status of sports, according to a report in the DNA newspaper. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), that Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads, has reportedly asked the sports ministry to incorporate yoga among the list of Indian sporting events.
The news comes days ahead of the World Yoga Day on June 21, which will see a range of government-sponsored initiatives to both promote and reclaim yoga.
Incidentally, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has said it will launch a nationwide campaign against a proposal to make 'surya namaskar', a yoga asana that salutes the sun, mandatory in schools because it is against Islam.
The DNA report stated that the sports ministry, which has enthusiastically taken up the project, has asked the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) for its opinion before declaring yoga as a sport.
The Yoga Federation, which has been long since demanding that yoga be included in the list of sports so that those participating in it could benefit from it, will also get recognition from the ministry.
In February this year, Yoga Federation president Dev Dutt Sharma held a meeting with the members to push the union government to declare yoga as a sport.
"If yoga is declared as sports then its participants will be benefitted by medals and preference in government jobs. Yoga is mother of all games," PTI quoted him as saying in a report after the meeting.
General Secretary Ashok Aggarwal, who is also President of Asian Yoga Federation, said that the fifth Asian Yoga championship will be held in Bangkok from June 19-21 under the aegis of Yoga Federation of India, according to the PTI report.
Listing yoga as a sport will also create jobs, DNA quoted a ministry official as saying.
"It's going to create millions of jobs around the country. And what better time than this, when India's initiative to have June 21 declared as World Yoga Day has been approved by the United Nations, and all those teachers will have an opportunity to get jobs as coaches in all governmental sectors," the official said.
On June 21, Bollywood celebrities and close to 11 lakh NCC cadets are expected to perform yoga asanas across the country, the report said. Nearly 5000 members of the Indian armed forces will also participate in the event at Rajpath.