When training first began at Bihar School of Yoga, yoga was understood as a spiritual sadhana. At that time people had fewer desires, were less involved in the materialistic rush and more concerned with their wellbeing. They came to the ashram for spiritual purposes and for advanced sadhana courses in meditation, pratyahara, kriya yoga and other yogic practices. It was only during the 1970s that yoga was utilized and understood as a means of dealing with health problems. Health management courses started at BSY to deal with physical and psychological problems. However, even at that time there were many who had no idea what yoga was all about.
Once the yoga programs became health-oriented, many research projects started developing. The first research project was conducted in Patna on yoga and cardiac problems. There was research on asthma in Raipur, on hypertension in Bombay, on diabetes in Sambalpur and Calcutta. This enquiry into yoga spread all over the globe. The methods yoga has found for dealing with different physiological problems such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, AIDS, hypertension and chronic heart conditions have, to a large extent, been successful in the management of these various conditions. Yoga has, therefore, made a major contribution in the field of health.
The second major contribution of yoga has been in education. Yoga has been introduced to children on an individual basis as well as in schools and colleges. BSY has conducted gurukul courses for thousands of children who have received the basics of yoga as lifestyle training. In Munger yoga was taught to higher secondary school teachers. Organizations such as RYE have introduced and implemented methods of teaching yoga in the classroom. RYE originated in France and now has centres in many countries of the world. In 1995, through this organization, a proposal to adopt yoga in educational institutions was sent to the governments of seventeen countries. This recommendation has been agreed to in principle by many countries in South America, North America and in Europe. So in the field of education yoga has made a significant contribution.
In the 1980s Bihar School of Yoga took up the areas of business management, stress management and creativity enhancement. Yoga was taught to both management and workers in different industries, mainly government sponsored institutions, as a means of managing stress. From this point on, yoga became a therapeutic subject. In Bihar, yoga has been introduced as a subject in medical colleges to enable medical students to learn the therapeutic principles of yoga.
Bihar School of Yoga has conducted many teacher training courses and trained thousands to teach the basics of yoga. Whether teaching in centres, or in their families, or practising on their own, these people keep in contact and that seed has been sown in them.
In 1994, at the request of the former Chief of the Armed Forces, yoga was introduced to the army. Sannyasins were sent to high altitude and desert areas to experience the severe climatic conditions and to prescribe yoga practices for the management of these conditions, as well as for the physical and mental stress resulting from isolation and army duties. Yoga has also been taught to the police forces as a means of relaxation and personal discipline.
Yoga has also contributed in the field of science. In aeronautics, yoga has been introduced to help manage the effects of zero gravity on the body. Yoga has been accepted by various sports authorities as a preliminary program for athletes. Even sports like mountain climbing have applied yoga in their training programs to assist in the adjustment to high altitude atmospheres.
Yoga has been utilized in drug rehabilitation and in prisons for the management of depression, anxiety, fear and neuroticism. We have observed that, after a period of yoga training, changes have taken place in the behaviour of convicts and that they respond to various situations in life with a more positive and creative approach.
In the course of time the scope for applying yoga in society is going to increase. In order to present a scientific, systematic, practical and integrated approach, the yoga movement is being spread by agencies like Bihar Yoga Bharati. Similar propagation is being done by other centres such as Kaivalyadhama in Lonavala, Vivekananda Kendra in Bangalore, Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, and by sannyasins of the Sivananda tradition. To Bihar School of Yoga goes the credit for being instrumental in bringing about this yogic awareness, not only in one area or at one level of society, but globally. This was the mission and work of Sri Swamiji to make available the yogic culture.