Madonna to Beyonce: Hollywood's Love Affair With Yoga Began With These Celebs

  | June 21, 2015 20:27 IST (New Delhi)
Hollywood Yoga

Madonna and Beyonce are regular followers of Yoga

Indian Yoga experts are quite positive about its growth and development in the western culture

The rising popularity of yoga in the modern western world has made a huge impact on Hollywood celebrities like Madonna, Beyonce, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron and Robert Downey Jr.
Many of them have found mental peace and physical balance in this ancient practice and have inspired their fans to follow in their footsteps.
Meanwhile, Indian Yoga experts are quite positive about its growth and development in the western culture.
Yoga guru and spiritual master Bharat Thakur, founder of Artistic Yoga, feels that the 'USA has always been receptive to yoga'.
"As Deepak Chopra commented, 'You can't find Indian restaurants but there are hundreds of yoga studios in the US'. Although not on the same scale as the USA, yoga is also very popular throughout Europe as well," Bharat told IANS.
He also recognises the importance of celebrities promoting yoga.
"When celebrities do yoga, it's in the media and the public takes note of it. So, yes, it counts as it brings in an awareness of yoga and may encourage those who haven't done yoga to try it.
"Although people may not have tried it on their own, they read about celebrities doing yoga, breathing exercises and meditation and are encouraged to at least try it as well. So in this way, this has played a role in raising awareness of yoga and its spread in the western world," he added.
Another expert, Pallavi Aggarwal, who supports Bikram Yoga, a technique which incorporates techniques of traditional Hatha Yoga, says that yoga is now catering to a 'wide audience'.
"Yoga has higher popularity compared to aerobics and gym workouts. This industry is one of the very few industries that are catering to a wide audience as there are very less age and gender restrictions to practice yoga," she told IANS.
Also, Pallavi recognises the contribution of Hollywood in creating awareness about Yoga.
"Hollywood and yoga both have helped each other. Thanks to all the efforts made by Bikram Choudhury (the man behind Hot Yoga), who against all odds made it happen and now celebrities from almost all the fields are taking benefits from Bikram Yoga. Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, David Beckham, Brooke Shields, George Clooney are some of the followers of Bikram Yoga," she added.
Madonna, who is a regular follower of Ashtanga Yoga, practices it for two hours daily.
Last year, Beyonce created buzz by posting a stunning image of herself, dispalying her flexible, yoga-fit body on Instagram. The 33-year-old singer's post was a nod to the growing celebrity trend of sharing their pictures in various yoga poses on Internet.
In order to teach ways to a healthy and spiritual life, many Indian and western yoga gurus have opened yoga institutes and studios in the USA.
This trend has given a boost to the rising popularity of the ancient discipline in the west, where fans are flocking to yoga institutes to emulate their celebrity idols.
Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer Leena Mogre, popular for training names like Madhuri Dixit and Bipasha Basu, also believes that Hollywood has played a role in popularising yoga in the west.
"Hollywood stars have taken up yoga. They found peace of mind and they found that yoga gives benefits and it is a way of life," Leena told IANS.
She even praised Hollywood celebrities' attitude towards fitness and yoga.
"They don't go overboard with their bodies. It becomes a part of their personality," she added.
Even in our film industry, celebrities like Shilpa Shetty and Kareena Kapoor Khan believe in the benefits of yoga.