Sri Lankan MP’s Take up Yoga, the Africa Yoga Project, India seeks to patent 1,000 asanas and frees prisoners for studying Yoga

The BBC’s Charles Haviland reports, “Sri Lankan members of parliament are to be offered yoga sessions at work, starting next month.”

“With peace in Sri Lanka, the most stressed-out people are now the politicians,” said the instructor in charge, Chamin Warnakula.

His yoga organization has produced a leaflet headed “Yoga for MPs – For Mind, Body and Soul”.

Breathing and posture exercises will “teach them discipline, good behaviour, and how to control themselves in stressful situations”, he said.

“MPs get very stressed and they’re not in a position to do other exercise,” said his pupil, Sanjeewa Perera.

Film actress and Sri Lankan MP Malani Fonseka

The sessions will be held before parliamentary sessions begin in hopes of deescalating tension. The BBC reports that film actress and MP Malani Fonseka introduced the idea of yoga sessions for Members of Parliament noting that, “if the lawmakers concentrated intently on what their bodies were doing, it would bring calmness to their minds, giving them a break from stress factors and helping them put things in perspective.”

“We hope at least that by doing yoga they can learn to respect democracy and be more disciplined,” said Sri Lankan Parliament member Ranjan Ramanayake,.

On other pages, the BBC reports that, The Indian government is planning to patent nearly a thousand yoga postures. Western companies are claiming the rights to certain asanas, driving India to protect their cultural heritage in defense of everyone’s rights to practice yoga. Click to read and listen… Can you patent yoga postures?

Yoga is spreading across Kenya, where thanks to the Africa Yoga Project, a non-profit organization, the classes are free to even the poorest communities. Read the entire BBC feature… Stretching the bodies and minds of Kenyans.

Indian authorities in the state of Madhya Pradesh say that Yoga helps to improve prisoners’ self-control and reduce aggression so they are being freed early if they complete yoga courses. For every three months spent practicing Yoga posture, balance and breathing the inmates can cut their jail time by 15 days. Read and watch this BBC feature to learn more… India inmates take yoga to reduce their jail sentences.