News Rajashree at Brusels Grand Opening Celebration

Rajashree at Brusels Grand Opening Celebration

Brussels, Feb 24, INEP -- There’s more to the EU’s trade chief than meets the eye.

    The WTO Doha round mover and shaker may have been busy negotiating 

Anti-dumping duty on Chinese shoes in Brussels Thursday but he still made sure to fit in the inauguration of a new yoga centre.

   A charismatic Peter Mandelson lit the auspicious “diya” to inaugurate the opening of the First Bikram Yoga Centre in Brussels exclusive shopping street, Avenue Louise Thursday evening. 

   Mandelson who started practicing yoga under Feroze Khan, the Brussels centre’s director , when he arrived in the EU’s headquarters paid a fitting tribute to India’s  five thousand year old holistic philosophy.

   Referring to his early years in British politics, he said “ I was known in British politics as being a bit of bruiser,”  and added that yoga had transformed him into a “new man.”

   In a witty and humorous speech, he told an amused audience “with 10 million people practicing yoga world wide, yoga has become India’s best and fastest growing exports.”

    Continuing on with his trade metaphor he referred to the  Doha Development round where he discussed the  contentious issue regarding the free movement of professionals to a third country  ( technically referred to as Mode 4) with India’s commerce minister Kamal Nath.

    ‘’I am not sure if they have yoga on mind in Geneva when trying to negotiate open market in services. For me mode 4 has come to mean more and better yoga institutes not only IT specialists and pharmaceutical researchers.”

     ‘’Yoga teaches you to be more open and this is  something I have taken to the heart.’’

    The trade big wig  seemed to have left all his tariff worries at the Commission and seemed ready to start his yoga session at the opening Itself.

   “ So when things get stuck, call Feroze, get on the yoga mat and turn the heat up!” he told a pleasantly surprised crowd of yoga enthusiasts.  

   Mr. Dipak Chatterjee, India’s ambassador to Brussels,  said “We believe in India that yoga is a way of life. Yogis try to reach the ultimate in spiritualism.’’

     Turning to Mandelson, Chatterjee said ‘’I hope you will reach the height of spiritualism by practicing yoga.’’

     ‘’I am nearly there,’’ retorted Mandelson.

   Feroze Khan, director of the yoga centres, told INEP that he hails from

Pune and before moving to Brussels three months ago he used to teach yoga in the United States.

     ‘’I am getting pretty good response here,’’ he said adding that his first student was Mr. Mandelson himself.

      Rajashree Choudhury, wife of  the founder of the Bikram Yoga College of India,  came all the way from Los Angeles were its international headquarters is situated to attend the inaugural ceremony in Brussels.

     Choudhury a yoga therapist herself told INEP that they run many yoga schools in Europe but the one in Brussels was the first to be opened in Belgium.

    ‘’The future of yoga in the west is a big thing. I think we do not appreciate as much as the west is appreciating yoga,’’ she said.       

India News in Europe Programme (INEP)
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