Can it be true? Mysore is missing out on yoga tourism

Did you know that upwards of 5,000 people come to Mysore each year to study yoga?

Well, of course you did. But apparently the people who live in Mysore don’t. Actually, I find that hard to believe, given that 5,000 or so foreigners carrying yoga mats are traipsing around Mysore.

But I do believe that government officials don’t know, because government. (That’s my first official use of the truncated “because ____”. I should absolutely hate it as a retrograde development in the language, but I can’t help finding it hilarious, because grammar.)

Civic leadership’s lack of taking advantage of Mysore’s place on the yoga map is the point of this opinion piece from the Star of Mysore:

How many of you are aware of the fact that Mysore is the yoga capital of India? About 4 to 5000 students stay in the city for a period of three months throughout the year getting training in about 10 centres spread across the city. It is also a well-known fact that several Hollywood stars and celebrities have got their yoga training from masters teaching at these very centres. Think of the economic benefit of this form of tourism to this great city if the number of students double.

But as usual, our officials of Department of Tourism are laid back and are not taking advantage of this phenomena to bring in more yoga tourists to Mysore. The fact that Mysore is an important destination for yoga is not at all publicised and even our own people are not aware of this. It is not necessary that we depend on only foreign tourists but well-heeled gentry from our own country can come here for training. Yoga tourism can be a big money-spinner and since it involves local talent, it will ensure the overall benefit for the city.

What really galls the author is that India’s big yoga festival doesn’t even happen in Mysore. It happens in Goa! For shame! He then lists five international yoga festivals (from Bali to Oahu) and makes this suggestion: ” The Department of Tourism officials can go on a jaunt to at least two of these festivals to find out as to how these international events are planned and executed.”

Mysore, he laments, only focuses on Dasara, thus missing out on building a “vibrant yoga festival, world class, held year after year [that] means tremendous economic benefit for the local population.” And he continues:

But this event need not be a government-sponsored one. It can be a private enterprise also. All the ten centres of yoga training can come together, hire an event manager and do this, with active support from the Seers. There is no use waiting for our government which is in a hibernation mode to get up and act. They will wake up only by next June or July for next year’s Dasara.

He doesn’t name the yoga centers, but I assume the Ashtanga Institute is one.

Anyone who has been to (or is in) Mysore have any thoughts? Is the city missing out?

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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