03/31/2010, 00.00
NEPAL
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Kathmandu, tens of thousands of Nepalese won over by yoga

by Kalpit Parajuli
The Indian guru Ramdev has organized six days of practice and meditation. Imposing security measures to protect the swami who, in recent months, has received death threats. The event will include politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens. Free admission for the poor.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Amid tight security, over 40 thousand Nepalese are taking part in the Yoga Science Camp 2010, held by Swami Ramdev, a master in the discipline known throughout Asia. The six days of practice and meditation takes place at Tundikhel, the largest public area in the heart of the capital, Kathmandu, and will end tomorrow, April. The police have deployed 500 men from special units to ensure the safety of guru yoga, a "Z-class" protection - the highest level – because of the death threats received in recent months.  

The opening ceremony of the camp was held March 27 in the presence of Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav. The event caught the attention of tens of thousands from celebrities to ordinary Nepalese citizens. Ministers, politicians, actors and TV stars are also participating. On opening day alone there were over 35 thousand admissions.    

"Practiced for centuries, yoga helps lead a healthy life," the president of Nepal Yadav  emphasized in his speech. "Yoga must reach everyone - he added, thanking Swami for having inspired thousands of citizens.  The 2010 camp was organised by Patanjali Yogpeeth Nepal and Ayurvedacharya Swami Balkrishnaji Maharaj, while a group of experts are assisting the guru yoga in the practice of exercises.    

The last presence of Swami Ramdev (see photo) in Nepal dates back to three years ago, says Shaligram Singh, coordinator of the organizing committee, and was "attended by some 28 thousand excited people." Membership of the event has a cost that varies from 500 Nepali rupees (around $ 7) to 2100 (just under $ 30), depending on the selected site. However, the poorer classes may participate for free.    

Street patrols regulate vehicle traffic from the early morning hours. According to officials, more than one thousand vehicles and about 2 thousand motorcycles are used by practitioners of yoga to reach the camp. Enhanced security measures include the international airport, while  uniform and plainclothes police monitor the crowd.  

Yoga is a method of life ", says Swami Ramdev, explaining the meetings’ success. Many diseases such as obesity, hypertension, asthma and diabetes, continues the guru, "are treated to 75%" through its practice. "Added to these are heart disease, hepatitis and cancer." Along with yoga, participants may receive treatment according to the principles of Ayurvedic medicine, characteristic of the Indian tradition.

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