New Delhi, Dec 17: In a huge development towards encouraging Yoga and fulfilling PM Narendra Modi's vision, the Sports Ministry on Thursday formally recognized 'Yogasana' as a competitive sport, which will enable the ancient practice to avail government funding. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Minister of AYUSH (Ayurveda Yoga and Naturopathy Unani Sidda Homoeopathy) Shripad Yesso Naik formally promoted it as a competitive sport during an event here.
The main motive was to spread awareness about the benefits of Yoga and to help improve people's physical and mental wellbeing. PM Modi's vision has helped popularise Yoga and Fitness across the country. The Fit India Movement grew stronger with 'YOGASANA' being adopted as a competitive sport.
"Yogasana has been a competitive sport for a long time. But it has to be recognized by the Government of India so that it becomes an official and recognized competitive sport. Today is a big day, we are launching it formally as a competitive sport and I am sure it will go a long way," Rijiju said at a briefing.
An International Yogasana Sports Federation was formed under the presidentship of yoga guru Baba Ramdev with DR HR Nagendra as secretary-general in November last year. A National Yogasana Sports Federation of India (NYSFI) was also established for the preservation and development of yoga as a competitive sport. It was recognized by the sports ministry as a National Sports Federation (NSF) last month.
Rijiju said the sports ministry will start by providing financial support to the NYSFI in order to chart out its plan for the coming year. "Till now it wasn't recognized but now that it has come under us, the Sports Ministry will start by providing the NYSF with financial support to make their annual training and calendar."
The Sports Minister also said yoga asana will be inducted in future Khelo India Games program. "Its popularity will no doubt increase in India and we will include it in the Khelo India School and University Games," Rijiju said.
For competitions, 51 medals have been proposed in four events and seven categories in the sport. Events proposed include traditional yogasana, artistic yogasana (single and pair), rhythmic yogasana (pair, free flow/group yogasan), individual all round-championship and team championship.
A pilot championship -- National Individual Yogasana Sport Championship -- has also been proposed to be organised in February next year, followed by district, state, national, and World Championships. The two ministries have also developed an automated scoring system for competitions.
"The reason behind making yoga a competitive sport is to encourage its practice and to help improve the physical and mental wellbeing of the people. Having yogasana as a part of international event like Olympics etc would provide an opportunity to spread the awareness of Indian yoga and its innumerable health benefits," Naik said.