`Art of Living` makes official debut in China

Yoga made an "official debut" in China as Sri Sri Ravishankar inaugurated his first `Art of Living` centre with the sanction of the Chinese government.

Beijing: Yoga made an "official debut" in
China on Sunday as Sri Sri Ravishankar, the renowned Indian
spiritual guru, inaugurated his first `Art of Living` centre
with the sanction of the Chinese government in the capital.

Yoga, the quintessential Indian spiritual and
cultural form that is increasingly becoming popular here, took
centre stage as the Art of Living branch was opened at a
sprawling Chinese resort on the outskirts of the capital.

The function was attended among others by
representatives of Chinese Peoples Association of Friendship
of Foreign Countries, a government backed body which invited
the Indian spiritual guru.

The resort resonated with music `Gurur Brahma, Gurur
Vishanu` as few hundred enthusiasts attended the specially
organised function where Sri Sri briefly performed yoga and

A disease free body, violence free society, conducive
free mind, inhibition free intellect, sorrow free soul, trauma
free memory are the birth right of every human being and
modern societies have become so stressful that people look for
wisdom to find peace with themselves, said the Indian
spiritual leader, a well-known exponent of the ancient
practice, while addressing the crowd.

India and China shared a long history of wisdom, he
said, adding that the Chinese martial art forms like Kung
Fu and Tai Chi have become famous all over the world.

Similarly, India`s age old practices of yoga and
meditation have become relevant all over the world to distress
people, brining peace and happiness, he said.

He received biggest applauds when he thanked the
ruling Communist Party for granting permission to start his

He is due to conduct a similar `Sat Sangh` here
tomorrow in which a larger crowd was expected to take part.
Yoga is not new to China as yoga centers have come
up up all over the country ever since China began to
liberalise spiritual and religious practices in recent years.

But this is the first time that a centre has been
granted permission to operate.

Sri Sri said judging from the response, many centres
of Art of Living were expected to come up in several cities in
China soon.

"We do not plan anything. Things happen on their own,"
he said, recalling how Chinese organisers approached him to
start the centre.

Yoga, Indian classical and Bollywood dances were
becoming biggest cultural ambassadors of India in China even
though the ties between the two countries moved at a slow pace
of revival.

As the popularity yoga spreads fast in China, many
complain of huge shortage of teachers and trainers and Sri
Sri`s Ashram was expected to fill this void to train a new
generation of Chinese yoga teachers.

In addition to this, three yoga centres were being
set up by different groups in Shanghai Anji and Xian with the
assistance of the Indian government.

A yoga research centre was also expected to be set up
in collaboration with the Chinese hospitals and universities
next year.