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After a strong protest from the professional body of physiotherapists, the University Grants Commission has decided to back down on including yoga in physiotherapy courses.
A revised letter was sent to the vice-chancellors of all the universities on behalf of the Higher Education Regulator. The letter made it clear that institutes are independent to decide whether or not they should include yoga modules under the Bachelor’s of Physiotherapy (BPT) and Master's in Physiotherapy (MPT) courses.
J.S. Sandhu, UGC Secretary wrote a letter to the vice-chancellors that stated, "The universities may adopt modules from the syllabus keeping in view the requirement of the course".
UGC directed the universities to include yoga modules under the BPT and MPT courses on 19th May, followed by protests from Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP), group responsible for preparing physiotherapy syllabi and promoting professional standards.
As per the instructions from the ministries of human resource development and AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy), Sandhu wrote in his 19th May letter, "It is desired that modules of teaching and training of Yoga may be included in Bachelor and Masters in Physiotherapy programmes."
"It is requested that the same may be perused and suitably inserted in the physiotherapy programmes run by your esteemed university and affiliated colleges," stated the letter.
The syllabus was prepared without any discussions with the IAP, said K.M. Annamalai, General Secretary, IAP. Agreeing to the therapeutic value of yoga he said that the benefits of a particular yoga posture for a specific health disorder need to be researched with evidence before including yoga under physiotherapy courses.
Annamala said that since the UGC regulator has modified its order and made yoga optional, the IAP had nothing to protest against.
He also said that yoga cannot be included in the BPT course but the association could design a master's programme, with specialisation in evidence-based yoga.