Swami Ramdev Shibir has sold-out venues across Britain prior to even touching down in the UK. He is loved and revered by millions across the globe and some have paid up to £250 for the privilege of seeing him in person.
The Eastern Robbie Williams? A Bollywood crooner?
No, he is a yoga Guru and he is about to host what is going to be the world’s biggest yoga camp in Alexandra Palace in London.
On hearing that Swami Ramdev was coming to our fair city, Londonist’s spiritual antennae practically buzzed with excitement sensing that another faltering step towards enlightenment maybe close. Those who publicise the event however may want to highlight the fact that he is world's leading exponent of Pranayama yoga and leave out the fact that his other talents include a famous tummy-rolling technique originally made famous on TV Talent Shows in the Seventies backed by cheesy, up-tempo trumpet numbers.
The six day event will see the Swami instruct up to 4000 people at a time and the revered Indian Guru is already enjoying a massive following in the UK. Although he is widely described as a wise and venerable man, he is no stranger to controversy and his clashes with Politicians in India are many, including the erroneous accusation that he had crushed human bones and animal parts put in his popular Ayurvedic therapies. He also has twice daily appearances on the Aasstha spiritual satellite channel.
His techniques come across as unorthodox yet somehow logical and pragmatic, for instance men are encouraged to rub their nails to prevent baldness and, somewhat bizarrely, elderly people can improve their memory by breathing through alternate nostrils. Swami Ramdev says, whilst sitting serenely in the lotus position and floating six inches from the floor (probably), "I offer a simple regime for a fit, healthy and purposeful life.” Pranayama yoga does indeed aim to achieve a harmony between body and mind through exercise, breathing and meditation and we encourage every Londoner to give it a go during Rush hour tomorrow. Just don’t breath too hard on the Tube.
Tickets, officially a donation towards a hospital project, for the Alexandra Palace yoga camp range from £51 to £251, the latter giving you a place at the front and a chance to show off your moves to the man himself. The event runs from 27 July to 1 August.
Image taken from grahamking's splendid flickr photostream under the creative commons license.