YOGA represents a process through which one can learn how to live in an integrated manner. The science of YOGA and its techniques have been reoriented to suit modern sociological needs and lifestyles. Today, there are hundreds of YOGA styles being practiced, some with variations to suit the local practitioners.
According to the international Yoga Federation there are over 300 million people, who practice YOGA all over the world.
In USA alone there are over 15 million practitioners, accounting for 5% of the world YOGA practitioners. YOGA market value is estimated to be around US $ 27 billion in USA, that includes professional fees, cost of accessories and support services.
As per estimates of YOGA Research and Education Center, USA the country has 50,000 YOGA teachers and as many as 30,000 places to practice YOGA. In Europe too, YOGA is quite poplar, with several thousands of registered YOGA centers. The European Union of YOGA which has 13 main members and few correspondent members also covers some of the central European countries.
In Australia and African continents too, there are large number of YOGA schools and teachers. Besides, YOGA is also enjoying increasing popularity in these continents.
An online survey conducted by a YOGA organization in USA concluded that more than 90% of their respondents practices Asanas while a much smaller percentage of them practiced meditation and Pranayama. According to this survey, lyengar YOGA is the most popular style in the USA followed by Ashtanga YOGA.
YOGA in India:
Rishikesh is called the YOGA capital of the world. There are large number of institutions and YOGA professionals in India. While there is no recognized apex organization, where the institutions have to register, the exact number is estimated to run into several thousands. In India the awareness regarding YOGA is increasing and people are coming ahead and taking up YOGA courses.
India is in an advantageous position to tap the global opportunities in this sector. The tradition of YOGA was born in India several thousand years ago. Its founders were great saints and yogis. YOGA has its origins in Vedas. There is a well established history of expertise in imparting the YOGA training since ancient time. The great Indian sage, Patanjali, systematized the YOGA practice in his YOGA SUTRA.
Although this work was followed by many other important texts on YOGA, his book is the most significant one as it has touched almost all aspects of human life. Most of the popular YOGA institutions in the world have their parent institutes or governing bodies in India, thus placing India in an advantageous position to tap the global opportunities.
The market structure in the sector is unorganized. There is no apex organization recognizing the institutes, courses offered and regulating the activities of such institutions. There is also lack of standardization in this sector; the classical forms are modified today and taught under novel names. The sector and institutions involved in this practice are faced with lack of funds, and manly work on voluntary donations given by people, who have benefited from this fitness system. Research studies are not undertaken in this sector.
YOGA is traditional knowledge thriving in public domain Since Patent laws or traditional knowledge is not strong, there are patent related threats in this sector. Recently there was a claim for patenting several asanas in USA (that were modified from that classical YOGA). Most of the western countries associate YOGA with physical exercises thus neglecting the effect of YOGA on mental and emotional equilibrium. Thus the changing faces of YOGA include physical fitness activities like aerobics, jogging and cycling in YOGA practice.
Strategies for promoting YOGA globally:
* Governmental intervention may be desirable, in terms of funding, organizing and regulating this sector
* YOGA education should be promoted in primary schools, in order to create awareness about this fitness system.
* IPR elated issues may need to be tackled at the Government level.
* The knowledge or wisdom of YOGA should be communicated correctly world over. So that it is recognized as an Indian fitness system and its integrated benefits is realized by the practitioners. With the expanding reach of electronic and satellite medium of communication. India should be able to realize its full potential.