Russian tourists come to Goa on the tourist visa and get involved into the business activities is not the new story anymore. but now many of them also have turned into the Yoga Gurus. With the huge scope for Yoga, European and Russian tourists are teaching fitness and Yoga by mixing business with pleasure and raking moolah for themselves.
The term of Guru, which means the teacher has originated in India. With the civilization, that is as old as 5000 years makes India one of the oldest civilization in the world. India is also considered to be an origin of Yoga which was practiced by the sages in India. But as the power of Yoga spread across the world, many foreigners realized the value of it and now the foreigners practice Yoga and also teaches the same to Indians.
Goa, being one of the prominent tourism destination, is the heaven for the foreign tourists. According to the sources, a European and Russian traveler on tourists’ visas have taken to yoga in a big way and seem to be minting money in collaboration with the locals, as training classes have mushroomed along the state’s coast from Arambol to Patnem.
Taking over the business of Yoga fitness in Goa, many foreigners have become Yoga Gurus in the state. Churning money by teaching Yoga and Wellness to Indian as well foreigners the Russian travelers coming to Goa on a tourist visa are getting engaged into new business now. According to the reports published by TOI, Instead of local and Indian yoga gurus, a sizeable section of tourists looking for fitness and wellness are being taught the basics by foreigners mixing business with pleasure, albeit illegally to rake in the moolah for themselves. Posters advertising classes for different types of yoga practices are seen pasted everywhere – on trees, walls and even on electricity poles in coastal villages speak volumes about the thriving activity.
The major areas of their operations have spread across Canacona in south Goa to Pernem in North Goa. None of the business of outsiders works in the state without the involvement of local Goans. When the media spoke to one of the tourism stakeholders in Palolem about the modus operandi of these Yoga Gurus, it has been revealed that the local involvement is mainly restricted to renting out their premises, but bigger players who actually offer training normally come from outside. “These locals renting their places for classes, keep mum while civic bodies and others look the other way,” said the sources.
The yoga gurus arrive in the state during the season time and later they target the foreigners interested in yoga and join hands to set-up a base. “It’s a give and takes. partnership with foreigners that helps in bringing foreign clientele which means more profit” said the sources. In Patnem, Agonda, and Palolem, the three beach villages with high footfalls of foreign tourists, there are eight to ten operators in each. “The teachers training course of 200/300 hour duration comes with a certificate at the end,” a stakeholder said. On the edge of Patnem beach, a thriving yoga centre caters to foreigners. The operator is a north Indian while majority of its instructors are foreigners on a tourist visa, a source said.
Most the target clients of the Yoga Gurus comes from abroad after booking their classes online. A 24-year-old tourist, Dr. Petra Simberg, from Finland is in Goa to complete her 200-hour teachers’ training course by a paying a fee of 1,600 pounds (Rs 1.30 lakh). Petra said she is in Goa for a holiday as well as learning yoga while preparing to offer a demonstration in the next day’s class. “I’m liking it here. I picked up this course online as most of the reviews were positive,” said a smiling Petra. After completing the course she will head to Rajasthan.
Another Polish tourist and physiotherapist Natasha is in Goa to do the teachers training course. “I’m doing good!,” she told the media as she walked towards her class on Palolem beach. In North Goa villages of Arambol, Morjim, and Ashvem which have a high concentration of Russian tourists, posters about yoga classes will be found in abundance. A tender coconut seller at Arambol beach told the media that his whole place is covered with posters, largely on yoga sessions. “I don’t know who those yoga teachers are?” he said. He said the panchayat should initiate action against those defacing public properties with posters. It’s quite probable that trainers may not be thoroughly qualified, and are fly by night operators.
According to the sources, the plans of the Ayush ministry which is already offering certification course, in quality control and standardization in yoga, will take a while to come into effect. Union minister for Ayush Shripad Naik said his ministry will make it mandatory that yoga teachers obtain due certification to qualify to impart training. Rules and regulations are being framed to ensure quality and standardization, he added.