MYSURU: They crossed the borders to teach yoga to the people of China and other neighbouring countries and also to find a better living for themselves. But as International Yoga Day dawns, what’s weighing heavily on the minds of the yoga instructors from Mysuru and other parts of the state is the ongoing border tensions between India and China. Although there is no hostile atmosphere in China, the Indian community there is anxious and is closely tracking the developments. A yoga instructor working in China told The New Sunday- Express that they have not experienced any sort of hostility or public anger towards them, given the prevailing situation.
“We are tracking the developments on the internet, but we don’t chat or discuss anything related to the border flare-up on the phone. But some of us friends did meet and discuss the issue. We are hopeful that the Indian consulate will come to our rescue or alert us if the things go out of control”, said Ramu (name changed), who hails from Mysuru and is currently based in Shanghai. For now, the yoga instructors are busy making preparations for International Yoga Day, to be held in all institutes with permission from the local authorities while maintaining social distance. “But if a warlike situation arises, we will fly back to India”, he said.
Kin worried about yoga instructors in China
There are more than 500 instructors from Karnataka working at yoga institutes in China and neighbouring countries. Mysuru is home to a good number of instructors and institutes and has given popular yoga experts like B K S Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois and others. With the Covid-19 pandemic, yoga is drawing Chinese people in droves as it helps improve immunity and breathing. The country has recovered from Covid-19 and people are moving without masks, Ramu observed. But tension and anxiety is gnawing at the families of the yoga instructors too.
Ramu’s uncle Venkatesh said he has been in regular touch over the last three days. “I have advised him to keep a low profile and stay safe,” he said. “We pray that the tension will soon defuse and our kin are safe in China”, said Das, a resident of J P Nagar, whose relative is in China. He said they had got in touch with Ramu too, as they were keen to know the ground situation and reaction of the people in that country. There are also dozens of English teachers working in China, but many of them have returned on the Vande Bharat flights operated by the Indian government.
Vivekananda Yoga Education and Research Institute Director Ganesh Kumar said hundreds of students with post-graduate degrees in yoga and diploma certificates are working in China, Germany, Vietnam, the US and European countries. The Indian instructors are doing well in China and other countries as they are well paid and also their flight and visa charges are taken care of. Ganesh said they are in touch with those working in China and other countries. He said they were initially worried about the spread of the Coronavirus and some had returned to India. However, a few others who are still in China are hopeful that normalcy will return and their families here are relieved of tension.