MYSURU: Like most businesses across the globe, the famous yoga and ancient healing art schools in Mysuru are going through a rough patch during this pandemic. There are around 1,500 yoga centres in the city that teach different forms and styles of yoga, along with various healing and meditation practices.
However, compared to regular yoga institutes, schools teaching ancient healing arts have been hit more as most of the students that enrolled at these schools were from other countries. Some of these schools are attempting to hold basic yoga and pranayama lessons online, but most techniques are difficult to teach through a screen.
Teachers in Gokulam, a tourist hub for yoga, say renting out a property here is an expensive affair, and that owners are also raising rents right now, making survival harder than usual. C Raghavendra, who holds Thai yoga bodywork classes at his centre Imosha in Gokulam, says that several foreigners from different countries came to his centre to learn the ancient art form.
This massage therapy combines assisted yoga, elements of acupressure, reflexology and physiotherapy, and involves two people. Explaining his predicament, Raghavendra says, “Our finances have been greatly affected. We have to pay rents, pay salaries to the staff and take care of our families with limited resource. If this situation persists, our problems will just get worse.
We don't get many Indian students, these ancient art forms are preferred by foreigners, which is unfortunate.” He adds, “Apart from the business side of things, it is a matter of preserving our ancient art forms, which may get lost if they cannot be sustained." G Murali Mohana, founder of Yug Yoga Shale and the first to introduce and teach aerial yoga in China in 2012, told TNSE, “There have been no foreign tourists since January. It has become challenging to pay rents and salaries.”
Mysuru Wadiyars’ contribution to yoga
The erstwhile Mysuru Wadiyars were the first patrons of yoga in Mysuru. Then-ruler Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar was a yoga enthusiast, and a disciple of Tirumale Krishnamachar, the first yoga guru of Mysuru Yoga Shale.