Thiruvananthapuram: The Kunnamthanam village in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, ruled by Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M), has learned that practicing yoga helps people to check lifestyle diseases effectively.
And yoga is a cost-effective pill for many ills. After a year, the village model has been recognized by the Narendra Modi government and is going to be extended to 500 villages in India.
“I’m happy that our village got national-level recognition for propagating yoga training,” KK Radhakrishnakurup, President of Kunnamthanam Panchayat told India Today.
“Our Panchayat was spending heavily on health care assistance for the underprivileged. It was hurting our developmental projects. The health survey in the Panchayat found that lifestyle diseases are common among our population,” the Panchayat president revealed.
Kunnamthanam, a sleepy village dominated by Christians, 135 kilometers North East of Thiruvananthapuram, has a population of 21,600 people with 7,000 families.
“Hindus are a minority in our village. So we decided to follow ‘secular yoga’ without religious bias. We launched a project ‘My Village Healthy Village’ with the support of Pranavom Yoga Centre, Thiruvalla in March 2017. Our initial plan was to train at least one person each from a family in yoga, ancient healing system,” Kurup said.
“The response was immense. Soon demand came from people to open more yoga training centers in their neighbourhood. We opened 28 yoga training centers in 15 wards. On June 21, International Yoga Day, we organized mass yoga with 5,000 people in a practice session and declared Kunnamthanam a yoga village,” Radhakrishnakurup told India Today.
54-year-old Kurup said that yoga helped him get his blood pressure under control. “With our people all the 15 members of village council had undergone yoga training. Now my blood pressure is under control and I practice yoga for an hour every day. It gives me positive energy to work long hours,” he said.
Like him, everyone who had undergone the three-month training has become active followers of yoga.
ur people cutting across their education and class status made the programme a great success. Now it has become a people’s movement as more people are coming forward to learn yoga and practicing it regularly. The net result is our people remain healthy and we are spending less money on health care assistance,” PT Subhash, another ward member told India Today.
MG Dileep of Pranavom Yoga Centre is also happy to share that his support helped a village to learn yoga and enjoy its benefits.
“We never expected a massive turn out in the village. But now almost 8,000 persons have undergone training and more people are coming forward to join. School students also have joined the training programme,” Dileep told India Today.
Certainly, Kunnamthanam has set a mark which others can follow. Political ideology is no taboo in following an ancient health healing practice.