For health and beauty, Bali turns to yoga asanas

March 5th, 2009 - 11:15 am ICT by IANS  

Bali, March 5 (IANS) The yoga bug is fast catching on among the people of Indonesia, especially in the island of Bali, who are seeking better health, cure of ailments or beauty through the ancient Indian practice despite the ban on certain elements of yoga.

“I have been learning yoga for the past one year at the Bali India Foundation under the aegis of professor Somvir. The benefits have been amazing - I feel good about myself,” A.A. Ayu Sri Wariyani Se, a 43-year-old entrepreneur, told IANS.

“My son has also started learning yoga now. And I have also turned vegetarian because of this…although I do give in to the temptation of fish at times,” she added.

Like many others, Sri was introduced to yoga by her friends.

“My friend was learning yoga from a Balinese instructor here and told me about the great benefits of the art. Then when I came to know about an Indian spiritual guru teaching yoga here, I joined in. Now I follow all the dietary advice that he gives me,” she said.

Among the modifications in her diet are having a glass of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric at night. For common ailments like indigestion, she again trusts ayurvedic medicine.

T. Apriyani, a yoga instructor here, said that she was introduced to the art by her friends.

“I learnt from a Western instructor here and then went to Malaysia to learn more about yoga. Although I have become an instructor now, I want to learn hatha yoga for which I plan to go to Mysore in India sometime this year,” Apriyani said.

For a country that saw its topmost Muslim body implement regulations on certain elements of yoga, the fan following for the art is overwhelming.

According to Somvir, an Indian academic who set up the Bali India Foundation to teach yoga more than a decade ago, there are more than 10 million people practising yoga in Indonesia.

“People here are realising the therapeutic effect of yoga. That is why we have 10 doctors from government hospitals learning yoga. And if all goes well, we will introduce yoga in two private hospitals here too,” Somvir told IANS.

“And it’s not just people from one community learning yoga. In the past two years I have trained more than 100 Muslims and students from other communities. We are trying to tell people that yoga is beyond religion…it’s just a means to a healthy life.”

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