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August, 2008

Camp Moomba Yogathon

Vancouver yogis joined in a yogathon to raise money for children affected by HIV … At 5:30 pm on Saturday, July 12th, 2008, nearly 1,400 yoga enthusiasts gathered at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver Canada for the 6th annual Camp Moomba Yogathon. Though the attendance was well short of the 2,000 projected, this year the Yogathon […]

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Yoga Video Ad Impresses at Cannes

‘Street Stretch’ yoga video adds a refreshing twist to the hustle of daily Indian life. … With a little extension of the imagination, Street Stretch merges complex yoga poses with the scenery of everyday life. This 60-second video, which took home a bronze metal at the 2008 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, was produced by JWT […]

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Yoga: It’s in Your Genes

A recent scientific study has revealed the influence of relaxation techniques, such as those used in yoga, on the body’s response to stress at the genetic level. … The research team from the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine found that the ‘relaxation response’, a bodily state […]

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Krishna Janmashtami

Sri Krishna Janmashtami (or Jayanti) celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Krishna is considered the ultimate personification of love, friendship, trustworthiness and selfless service. Sri Krishna Janmashtami, therefore, signifies not simply a celebration of the birth of a great and Divine Teacher of mankind, but the recognition of that inherent Divine Power in all of us, which enables us to proceed in all of our worldly activities with a sense of higher spiritual purpose.

Krishna Janmashtami is considered one of the greatest Hindu community festivals. It falls on the eighth day of the dark half of the month of Bhadrapada; this year on August 24th/25th, and is marked by grand celebrations at Krishna temples across India. The festival itself is preceded by a day-long fast that is broken at midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born.

About Krishna
Born in 3,228 BC, Sri Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu representation of Almighty God, and is considered to be the Lord’s most glorious incarnation. Hindu tales are rich with the exploits of his life, a life that is a stirring saga of one of the greatest champions of Dharma (duty, selflessness and righteous action).

From the moment of his birth in the dungeons of the tyrannical ruler Kamsa, his life is replete with mortal dangers, which he successfully triumphs over. He is said to have killed many demons, tamed the serpent Kaliya and even lifted a mountain to protect the people of Vrindavan from torrential rains.

Himself a king, Krishna played many roles in his life. He was a musician, a cow-herd, master of the arts, a benevolent ruler, righteous statesman and a teacher of the highest principles. He was the unchallenged hero of his times both in terms of his bodily prowess and intellectual brilliance. Nowhere in any scriptures has there been recorded a life more full, more intense, more sublime and grander than that of Lord Krishna.

Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita
At the epicentre of the great Indian epic, Mahabharata, we find Lord Krishna, charioteer to Arjuna the leader of the Pandava army at the commencement of the battle at Kurukshetra. Despondent and dejected at having to do battle against his former friends, family and loved ones, Arjuna is counselled by his friend Krishna who proceeds to instruct him on duty and right action.

The 700 slokas, or stanzas of this penultimate moment in the greatest of Indian epics is known as the Bhagavad Gita, when Krishna gives instruction on karma yoga (selfless action), bhakti yoga (devotion), jnana yoga (knowledge/wisdom) and on the proper yogic attitude to take towards every human crisis. The Bhagavad Gita remains today the widest read piece of literature of all time.

Hi-tech: a Wii bit of Bollywood yoga

The merging of technology and tradition is nothing new. For more than a decade now, yogis have been expounding their teachings through television, the internet and audio and video technology, which has led to an unprecedented explosion of yoga into mainstream consciousness.

The latest offspring of this unlikely union comes with the announcement of the creation of Wii Yoga from games publisher JoWood.

This yoga-fit game utilizes the balance board originally developed for Nintendo’s extremely successful Wii Fit. The balance board senses weight, positioning, pressure, and direction. Wii Yoga will apparently feature an adaptable weekly schedule of exercises and allow you to follow the instructions of the inevitable virtual yoga guru. Aside from that, few details are as yet available.

Wii Yoga is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2009.


shilpa-shettyNo-one has yet thought to make yoga available on your cellphone, but former Bollywood actress and famed Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty is among the first to try and catch the potential.

In conjunction with leading Indian mobile operators like Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance, BPL, Idea and Tata, the videos of Shilpa demonstrating various yoga practices are made available for download directly to subscribers. Users can also download wallpapers and screensavers of Shipla in her yoga poses.

India: a hub of health and wellness

According to a recent article in the Telegraph of Calcutta, the Indian government has ambitious plans to position India as the global destination for health and wellness. It will do this by encouraging the creation of institutes to develop skills in yoga and traditional systems of medicine such as ayurveda.

According to the article, the first institute of this kind will be established in the Himalayan region of Sikkim in Northern India.

With this initiative, the government of India is signalling not only the need to further propagate its traditional systems of health and wellbeing, but also its keen interest in capitalizing on the commercial value of the industry as a whole.

With examples such as traditional Chinese medicine demonstrating significant global capital potential, which in a recent report approached nearly 26 billion dollars last year, it is certainly a good time to begin to lay a solid foundation for the promotion of India’s own natural traditions.

A senior official within the Tourism Ministry points out that “AYUSH (the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) has concentrated only on very theoretical knowledge so far. In these new institutes”, says the Ministry official, “we will focus on developing core competency.”

While the Tourism Ministry has already been promoting destinations in India that specialise in rejuvenation, this is the first time that it is planning to get involved in manpower training. With the steady growth of spas and healing centers in the private sector, and the growing international interest in India as a wellness destination, the Ministry’s initiative could add needed support to the development of India as a world leader in the health and wellness industry.

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