Rishikesh, known as the yoga capital of the world, with its numerous yoga centers, schools, and ashrams, has further cemented this reputation as the primary source of yoga teachers in China and the rest of Asia.
It is estimaed that there are 1,500 Indian yoga teachers in China, with 70 to 80 percent of them originating from Rishikesh and Haridwar, as reported by The Times of India.
Market research company Daxue Consulting reports that yoga practitioners in China have risen from 4 million in 2009 to 10 million in 2014, and these numbers are expected to continue rising. The number of yoga teachers in China (of any nationality) also rose from 108,000 to 225,000 in 2014, but demand is still great for more teachers.
The preference of the Chinese public for professional yoga instructors is solidly for Indian teachers.
“The Chinese prefer us since we have a grip over the basics of the science,” said Ashish Bahugana, who has been teaching yoga in China for over 10 years and currently runs WeYoga in Beijing. Bahugana took his initial training at the Parmarth Niketan ashram in Rishikesh.
This opinion is also supported by Mohan Bhandari, who was one of the first Indian yoga teachers to settle in China and is the co-founder and director of Yogi Yoga, the most famous and leading yoga center in China.
“It is a characteristic of the Chinese that they want to learn things from people who they consider as subject natives. That is why the demand for Indian yoga teachers is high in the country,” said Bhandari, who also completed a 52 Yoga DVD with China Central Television (CCTV) and published a Chinese language book on the subject of yoga in 2004. Bhandari’s seminal experience as a yoga teacher was also at the Parmarth Niketan ashram from 2000-2002, before moving to China.
Bhandari has estimated that the yoga industry in China is growing annually at about 20 percent, leading him to recruit more and more qualified yoga instructors from Rishikesh. He often does this, returning to Parmarth Niketan for the International Yoga Festival.
The average student profile of a yoga student in China is female, age 25 to 45, whose goals are to keep fit, relieve stress and maintain good health. Daxue Marketing also reports that there is an untapped market of Chinese males in need of yoga, age 30 to 50, who suffer from overworking pressure and sub-optimal health conditions.