Yoga, even though it originated in India, does not belong to the country anymore and became India's gift to the world when the UN proclaimed the International Day of Yoga, renowned spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has said.
"We must understand that yoga is not an Indian (thing). If you want to call yoga Indian, then you must call gravity European," Sadhguru said at a panel discussion organised on Monday in the United Nations by India's Permanent Mission on the eve of the second International Yoga Day.
Sadhguru said even though the idea of commemorating the International Yoga Day was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was "almost like the world was waiting for it" when 177 nations supported the UN resolution proclaiming June 21 as International Day of Yoga.
Yoga is "not about you versus me. This is why I said yoga is not Indian because a science cannot be Indian. Yes, yoga originated from India and as Indians we are proud of it but it does not belong to India," he said during the panel discussion 'Conversation with Yoga Masters' that also featured Tao Porchon-Lynch, 97-year-old Yoga Master and activist.
"The very fact that the UN has declared it as International Yoga Day means India has gifted it (Yoga) to the world. It does not belong to India anymore," Sadhguru said.
Underlining that yoga must be understood as a science and the practice is not about "bending and twisting", he told PTI that the most important thing is to release yoga from stereotype that it is a physical practice.
Sadhguru, the founder of Isha foundation, said people assign specific times and days to do yoga but he does yoga 24 hours a day.
"Anytime time is yoga time. If you bring that dimension, release it from its physical practice and bring it into a state of experience of life, that's when it will become universal," he said.
"It's not a yoga culture, it's a yogic science. I am insisting on it being as science and technology because you don't have to believe (in yoga), you just have to learn to use it. Like any technology, if you learn to use it, it works for you," he said.
With the UN proclaiming an international day for it, yoga now belongs to everybody and all the Indian teachers and gurus must understand that they have to remove the cultural elements attached to yoga.
"However attached they may be to those cultural elements, they should keep that aside and teach yoga as a science and as a technology. This is most important because only then will it be internationally relevant," he said.
India's Permanent Mission to the UN in association with the UN Department of Public Information will commemorate the second International Yoga Day with a special event on Tuesday at the UN Secretariat Circle in front of the UN headquarters.
President of General Assembly Morgens Lykketoft is the chief guest at the event.
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