The Indian government announced in March that millions of its country’s stressed and out-of-shape officials would be participating in free daily yoga lessons in order to improve public services.

Police, fire fighters, teachers and bureaucrats are among the estimated three million officials –and their families– who were invited to follow India’s new yoga minister of state, by practicing regular morning sun salutations.

Suneel Singh, a yogi in Delhi, strongly believes that with daily classes in the ancient exercise, officials will be able to function with more clear-minded productivity in their jobs. Though it is unconfirmed whether it will be compulsory, attendance is being encouraged.

“Yoga is part and parcel of India’s heritage,” Singh told the Guardian. “Many bigshots like [Mahatma] Gandhi have (done) it.”

India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, practices yoga religiously every morning and is enthusiastic about introducing the discipline to the “famously out-of-shape” police officers. In order to forward the mission, Modi has created an entire ministry, with Shripad Yesso Naik at the helm, to organize the training of yoga and traditional medicines over the next five years.

“Physical and mental therapy is one of yoga’s greatest achievements,” says Singh on his website. “The greatest martial is the gentlest.”

Photo credit: My Yoga Vidya

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