By Sandra BIFFOT-LACUT
Superstar yoga teacher Sadhguru has more than 10 million followers online and he sees no limit to how many people will become adherents in the coming years.
“I think in 25 years you will have probably 60 to 70 percent of the world doing some form of yoga,” he told AFP during a visit to Paris this week.
“Yoga is a science that was first transmitted by the first yogi 15,000 years ago but until now no generation was ready to address their well-being — and all aspects of who they are — in a scientific manner using these tools,” he added.
Millions discovered 65-year-old Sadhguru, real name Jagadish “Jaggi” Vasudev, during the Covid-19 pandemic, when his daily videos on Instagram became a vital resource to get through lockdowns.
Punctuated by bursts of laughter, they combine lessons on life, yoga practice and humorous reflections.
Yoga is increasingly recognised worldwide for its health benefits, particularly in combatting stress and maintaining physical flexibility.
Dressed as usual in a turban and a huge light-coloured shawl, Sadhguru said yoga’s “internal tools” of meditation, postures, breathing and mantras were “within everyone’s reach”.
“More people are intellectually active than ever before in the history of humanity… This generation and the coming generations are really ready for yoga,” he said.
“It’s only now we are able to understand … our relationship to the world around us,” he added.
“The age of yoga has come!”
– ‘Technology for well-being’ –
Sadhguru has many celebrity fans, from Will Smith and Matthew McConaughey to Paris Hilton and Andrea Bocelli, who welcome the way he gears ancient teachings to their materialist world.
He is also close to nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has made yoga a central part of his image.
But Sadhguru says yoga is not a purely Indian phenomenon.
“People are identifying it with India, with Hinduism, but no, it has nothing to do with that,” he said.
He says it was kept alive for thousands of years in India because it was a relatively peaceful corner of the world protected by natural barriers.
“We managed to preserve it … but a time has come when the world will go towards it, because this is not a philosophy, an ideology.
“This is not a new religion. This is a technology for well-being.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re black, white, man or woman. Whatever you are, if you learn to use it, like your camera or your phone, it will work for you.”
A keen biker, Sadhguru is also part of several projects around the environmental and biodiversity.
He has a renowned yoga centre and non-profit foundation, Isha, based at Coimbatore in southern India that has planted some 25 million trees, among other projects. — Agence France-Presse