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Tuesday, 23 June 2015 | benoy behl

Benoy Behl tries to capture the essence and benefits of yoga through his photographs . His ongoing exhibition is being held simultaneously at Indian High Commissions in 20 countries 

It  was the year 2014 when Benoy Behl decided to promote yoga and its benefits on the human mind and body. He did not write articles about it or train others but decided to capture the essence of the practice through his lens. Over a year, he travelled to different parts of the world learning how the Indian art of meditation has affected and influenced people. Now he has compiled 90 of the best photographs from his journeys for an exhibition titled Yoga: India’s gift of harmony. 
 
The photographer has spent a lifetime researching the cultural history of India, the paintings, sculptures, caves and temples. “Yoga is an intrinsic and essential dimension in all this,” he said, “Representations of yoga are found in the Indus Valley seals dating 5,000 years ago. The Upanishads, formulated in the eighth and ninth century BCE, put forward the concepts, and ancient Indian philosophy is deeply rooted in it. The best answer to the problems of the world today appears to be this ancient answer from the Indian traditions.” 
 
The photographic exhibition consists 64 photographs of the finest practitioners of yoga, taken across India, Vietnam and US. While it is being exhibited at the Bhartiya Vidhya Bhawan in Delhi, it is simultaneously being exhibited at the Indian Embassies of 20 countries like Shanghai, Geneva, Reunion Island France, Sao Paulo, Athens, Bishkek, Beijing, Rabat, Port of Spain, Prague, Copenhagen, Birmingham UK, Zanzibar, Amman, Seychelles, Phnom Penh, Sri Lanka, The Hague, Armenia and Georgia. 
 
Behl feels that yoga should be promoted in a selfless manner and pointed out that, “It cannot be taught in a commercial way.” “During my tour of the West, I came across several commercialised fitness programme centres who call themselves yoga practitioners. But they are not,” said Behl.
 
His quest to delve into the depths of yoga and meditation took him to Germany and he never shied away from asking for help. He wrote to important schools of yoga in India, US and Germany with details of his previous works. “I was very lucky that I got responses from all the places I had requested help from them and they all agreed to extend a warm support for my projects,” he shared.
 
Not only a photography exhibition, but his film Yoga: An ancient vision of life was also screened on World Yoga Day in India and 50 countries simultaneously. He said, “Narendra Modi has taken a much needed step to bring yoga to the sharp attention of the world. This has also highlighted the Indian roots of yoga.  Now it is up to us to use this world attention on yoga for the benefit of mankind.”According to Behl, yoga is not a religion, nor is it related to any religion. “We should not let politicians spoil what is good and beautiful for all human beings,” he concluded. The exhibition will continue till July 11.
 
 
 

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