Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ramdev Reaches Into Schools

File under: The Siddhi of PR and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

We're beginning to see that the rancorous Swami Ramdev is one of the most savvy among the big business yoga barons who have popped up in India in the last few decades. Case in point: he's hooking 'em when they're young:
Mullana, who attended Ramdev's yoga training camp at the industrial city of Faridabad on Sunday, said that consultations would be held with the spiritual guru to train teachers and also hold special sessions for school children.

The minister's plans include sending physical training teachers and sports teachers to train at the yoga camps of Ramdev.

The teachers would then impart yoga training to the hundreds of students in their respective schools during the morning assembly, he said.
After Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's moves to absorb the Indian Army into the body of his satsang, Ramdev's countermove is brilliant. He'll get them before they can join the Army. With both gurus being tireless in their efforts to obtain and dispense political favor, we do not doubt that a response from Sri Sri is forthcoming.

11 Comments:

At 4/25/2006 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as Swami Ramdev doesnt promise "enlightenment", whats your problem? Let people enjoy some placebo healin' in peace.

 
At 4/25/2006 8:34 PM, Blogger jody said...

Let people enjoy some placebo healin' in peace.

Placebo healin' that's being sold to them.

Let the people decide what their placebo is gonna be rather than get it pushed at 'em due to political ambition.

 
At 4/26/2006 8:26 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

Jody,

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar already has large youth programs to indoctrinate kids into his BS. Those programs are held all over the world, not just in India. I think Ramdev saw that this was a way to get money by offering babysitting, since SSRS was already doing it. After all, where do you leave your kids when you are busy cleaning toilets at the Bangalore ashram?

 
At 4/26/2006 8:32 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

Oh, in case you want to send your kids there........... the site is www.5h.org

 
At 4/26/2006 10:19 AM, Blogger Shoonyata said...

Way to twist the facts and distort the truth, jody. It's pretty obvious from reading that article that the initiative was taken by the education minister, not Ramdev. It's the minister's prerogative what gets introduced in school curriculums. It's only hatha yoga. I say it's good for all the increasingly fat urban Indian kids to get some traditional Indian style PE.

And yeah, I don't know about curing cancer or AIDS (although it is possible - mind over matter, always), but hatha yoga's effects on the body can hardly be called placebo. I have seen pranayama curing asthma, and mobility being restored in arthritis by hatha yoga. You're a fool to say they work via the placebo effect. That's like saying lifting weights causes your muscles to grow huge because you believe strongly they will. Hatha yoga has a purely physiological basis to it (besides the esoteric spiritual component).

Wait, now I understand your agenda. Your "objectivity" is becoming more hole-ridden than a gangsta ride in a drive-by shooting.

Jody's "wisdom", everybody: All "bigtime" gurus have evil, vested, world domination interests. Having meditation teachers of any kind spread the ancient teachings is bad, of course, because they are always fuelled by supposedly evil designs. All gurus should do is encourage people to sit on their asses all day and say neti, neti.

If everybody else is doing it wrong, why don't you go out and help people see the light of atman, dude, instead of only indulging in your brand of useless armchair pontification? Too lazy? I thought so.

I hope you will publish this.

 
At 4/26/2006 10:29 AM, Blogger jody said...

It's pretty obvious from reading that article that the initiative was taken by the education minister, not Ramdev.

Why did the minister pick Ramdev over any of the other thousands of qualified yoga masters in India? Maybe because Ramdev can deliver many more thousands of votes?

You're a fool to say they work via the placebo effect.

That's not the only thing that makes me a fool, but I'm still standing by my assertion that the health effects of yoga have much more to do with psychosomatic mechanisms (the placebo effect) rather than any actual changes occurring in the body.

If everybody else is doing it wrong

Not everybody else Mr. Exaggeration, just those few big time yoga barons like Sri Sri and Ramdev, etc.

why don't you go out and help people see the light of atman

What do you think this blog is about?

 
At 4/26/2006 11:09 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

Shoonyata,

Most have read all the benefits of hatha yoga and pranayama, etc. But what most don't know, or care to know, or ever hear about, are the actual damage some of these things can do.

I have heard at least one acclaimed Ayurvedic physician in India state that Sudharshana Kriya, and some of the bandhas taught along with it (as taught by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and co.) are quite damaging to health, physical, mental and emotional included. I've seen that myself, having spent time around SSRS. Many people develop lung problems they never had. Others develop emotional and psychological problems that were not obvious before contact with these techniques. Contradicting all the supposed "data" that those things are helping so many, giving relief, people are getting cancer at least as often, as far as I could see, and afflictions of other sorts and the only difference is that they decline to get proper medical attention and then die. One man died of a massive heart attack at SSRS's foreign Canadian ashram (while the guru was residing there, btw), because he refused to get medical attention while having numbness of his arms for 3 days! He thought the guru would fix him. Who knows how much of the damage was done by the breathing practice?

That doctor also stated that many of the hatha yoga poses done can adversely affect the spleen, etc., when done casually, without proper instruction. Most of the people I've seen teaching yoga don't know that much about spleen function. But who knows?

I'm sure that there is much good to be said for all these practices, and I don't think all the good effects are placebo by any means (sorry Jody). But neither are the bad effects.

 
At 4/26/2006 11:52 AM, Blogger Shoonyata said...

OTOH:

I agree about prudence and caution being very important in the practise of Hatha Yoga, especially pranayama. The hatha yoga pradeepika says (IIRC), that even greater care should be exercised in taming prana than in taming tigers and lions. But this usually applies to strenuous practices like Bhastrika. Simple Nadi Shodhana pranayama is extremely benign and useful (was even advocated by the original "neti, neti" expert, Shankara heh)

I am not familiar with either SSRS's methods or Ramdev's, but I agree, that a well trained teacher from a sound yogic tradition is essential in learning pranayama. Although I have not heard of any cases of internal organ damage being caused by the easy poses taught at the beginner level of yoga courses (which I would imagine is taught to kids).

Again, of course, one assumes that the teacher is carefully monitoring his/her students and watching that they are not twisting themselves into dangerous pretzels :D

In any case, kids have a purer innate intelligence, and they usually perform the poses comfortable and correctly, from what I have seen.

 
At 4/29/2006 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ontheotherhand
i have been observing your obsession with SSRS. Are you the same lady who came to SSRS as an epileptic patient with frequent bouts of fits. you ceased to have those fits after cleaning the toilets at the ashram. didn't you?

 
At 5/06/2006 2:33 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Yes, anonymous, he is that lady!

 
At 5/05/2007 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just attended a yoga camp by Swami Ramdev in Noida; and honestly this was the biggest event in my life-- after my birth! Pranayam is gr8 and Ramdev is unbeatable as a teacher and motivater. He DOES NOT propogate superstition but tries to eradicate it. So let not anybody be jealous of him. Instead we should learn this gr8 art and lead a fulfilled and happy life. I know one can get publicity by trying to demolish a big person. But like I said, you will be mising out on a good life by ignoring Ramdev and pranayam....
_----- sanjay mittal

 

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