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Yoga and Yoga Therapy in Germany Today

Introduction

Daya Mullins, Ph.D., M.S.C. President of the WEG DER MITTE Non-Profit Foundation for Holistic Medicine, Health, Education and Social Services and the European College for Yoga and Therapy ECYT, Germany

 

Over the years, Yoga in Germany has become a valid and strong field with many skilled teachers and respected schools and is boomimg in the field of fitness and health. Fewer people proportionately, however, seem to be interested in the original purpose of Yoga, which is self-development and awakening. Yoga first became known to the general public mainly through the "Volkshochschulen" - the evening school system, a powerful phenomenon in Germany. Most little towns have such an evening school where people can meet and learn about a wide variety of topics. Over the years, this has been the place where many housewives and other interested people have first learned about Yoga.

It was and is an inexpensive way to learn something about your primary interest or hobby. It was these Volkshochschulen and the 1973 television program "Yoga for Everybody" that popularized Yoga in the early years, along with the very few Yoga schools that then existed in Germany - we were one of them. Later, health insurance plans joined in, which indicate that they were starting to become aware of the great health benefits Yoga can have. This is significant considering that every person in Germany has to be a member of a health insurance plan up to a certain income level.

Approximately 10 years ago Yoga took on significant importance when several health insurance companies started reimbursing for Yoga classes, and it became "in" for the general public to participate in them. If Yoga had been looked at with a bit of suspicion until then, this rapidly changed when we started seeing yogis smiling from advertisements and on television. Om became a mantra that was even used as a joke or for entertainment, as the advertising industry did not seem to understand its meaning.

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