Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, appointed Shripad Yesso Naik as the new “Minister of Yoga” late last week. Modi represents India’s international interests, global economic development and matters of importance which now include the ancient practice of yoga. Modi began this conversation a few months ago when he proposed the adoption of International Yoga Day during his U.N. speech on Sept. 27.

During that speech he addressed the problems and challenges India is facing as a nation. He also spoke about terrorism, the economy, health concerns and development in today’s rapidly changing world. Modi emphasized how cooperating and having a dialogue on an international level will bring global peace, as well as how having different lifestyles will impact our views, contributions and health.

He asked many serious questions, including: “Has [our] mutual unity improved?”

“We need to make a change in our lifestyle, where energy has not been used, that is the cleanest, which will give different direction to our economy,” he said.

Modi also suggested that in order to solve problems, such as climate change, we as people need to change. He mentioned how each country has to fulfill its own responsibilities. He suggested a solution: to use the yoga philosophy and practice as a tool for social, economic and climate change.

“Yoga is a valuable contribution [to] our country, of our tradition. Yoga, our heart, our body, our ideology, our actions; everything is a part of our country,” he said. It is important to have coordination between all of these, he suggested.

With the new ministry in charge, embracing yoga and other health treatments, Modi hopes to educate, embrace and promote India’s traditions such as Siddha, Unani, homeopathy and naturopathy with the goal of healthier lifestyles and economic stabilization.

“Yoga is not just an exercise,” he said.

[Photo by Narendra Modi – CC BY]

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