Body, mind and plenty of spirit

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Baba Ramdev brings his unique brand of philosophy to Melbourne

Photo: AP Guruswamy

Yoga and spiritual guru Baba Ramdev visited Australia recently, speaking to various groups in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane about the well-being of body, mind and soul.
Simple yogic exercises and breathing techniques can help reduce stress and tackle disease, was his overarching message.
The spiritual leader is known for his championing of yoga and Ayurveda, and simple living and community empowerment.
His mass yoga camps and televangelism are just as popular as his traditional medicine products and research centres at Patanjali Yogpeeth institutions.

Equally, he is known for his feisty tirades against big business, rampant modernisation and on political issues in contemporary India.
In Melbourne he conducted a 3-day Yoga workshop for the community on 10, 11 and 12 April at Monee Valley Racing Club, Monee Ponds.

Swamiji also visited Parliament, in an event that India Australia Exchange Forum (IAEF) helped coordinate. The speaker Mr Telmo Languiller welcomed him at Queen’s Hall and paid tribute to Swamiji’s dedication to yoga, meditation and spirituality. In response, the sprightly Baba demonstrated some of his yogic techniques, and led a group meditation. He also spoke about his daily yoga practice, which he began at the age of nine. Spirituality and meditation can go a long way in attaining world peace and overall prosperity of the human race, he noted.

The University of Melbourne’s Australia India Institute also honoured India’s most popular spiritual teacher. Baba Ramdev addressed students and faculty members about the power of yoga in today’s busy world.
Ramdev also dropped by at Wyndham City council chambers to meet with business and community leaders in an event organised by local business personality Intaj Khan.

At the function, he expressed an interest to promote his unique Ayurveda products and services, as well as his philosophy, and to establish future business ventures and a yoga centre in Australia. (His business empire which has centres in UK, US, Nepal, Canada, and Mauritius, is expected to grow to an estimated Rs 20,000 crores in the future).
He said he was impressed with the Indian links he could clearly see as he drove through the western suburbs, in business and otherwise, which gave him an insight into the community’s achievements in Australia. (He stressed the importance of hard work and determination for attaining success, commenting that he himself has 16-18 hour work days). It is these regular folk, not celebrities, that he would like to help promote his projects, he said.

At a media conference held at Mantra Bell City Preston, Baba Ramdev drew comparisons between press conferences in India and Australia. According to him the journalists in India are more negative whereas in Melbourne it was like being ‘in heaven’ not a press conference. Most questions asked by the local Indian media were not intrusive in nature.
At this event, Baba Ramdev emphasised the benefits of yoga over gruelling sessions in the gym. According to him the human body is designed to be supple and flexible and skin should be soft unlike the hardened muscles created in gyms. He then removed his robe to display what he considers his ‘six pack abs’ and demonstrated his flexibility through movement and posture.

He reiterated his message that stress is a major part of life in the Western world, and yoga and Ayurveda can provide the spiritual, physical and mental balance desired to live a stress free life. He also said he would definitely consider any future projects and affiliations within Australia as his aim is to promote yoga and Ayurveda around the world.
Ramdev’s visit to Australia was organised by Sunil Sharma, Rakesh Sharma (Patanjali Ayurveda products distributor in Australia) and Colonel Vijay Dhir.
With inputs by Ashish Chawla, Preeti Jabbal and Rajni Anand Luthra

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