China’s rapidly aging population is one of the most pressing issues facing the ruling Communist Party. In rural China, at least 50 million older Chinese have been left behind by the country’s economic boom, according to official data. Many struggle with poverty and depression. For those reasons, the top Chinese official in this village, Lu Wenzhen, was seeking a way to help the older, remaining residents. After watching a 60 year old woman doing yoga, Lu knew he wanted to bring yoga to his village.
The residents in Yugouliang were unconvinced. They had never heard of yoga. Complicating the issue was the fact that Lu had never done yoga. Practicing with videos, he became a self-taught instructor and began offering classes.
Those first few sessions, just a few residents turned up. Mr. Lu started off slow. First he taught them how to breathe through a singing exercise. Then he tried to take them through some simple, cross-legged moves. It didn’t take long for more people to join. Nor did it take long for them to try more ambitious poses. "Now, I don’t have to take a single painkiller," reports one new yogi.
What Lu accomplished is both amazing and inspiring. See the photos of the village doing yoga and read the entire story here: