India’s battle against Egypt’s Kemetic Yoga

Patrick McCartney
5 min readOct 6, 2021

Whose yoga is older?

Patrick McCartney

According to the 2018 Global Wellness Institute report, the Wellness industry was worth $ 4.5 trillion dollars. Wellness is a huge economy: from spas, beauty, nutrition, fitness, personalized medicine and, yes, invariably yoga. Clearly, at half the money spent on total global medical health care (pre-pandemic was at $ 7.8 trillion per year), the Wellness industry is not small change. Particularly as it is touted to recondition ourselves and economies out of the post-pandemic funk. It has even morphed into faith-based competitive diplomacy while stoking old-fashioned market wars. In fact, wellness tourism is the fastest growing sector in travel, which is expected to pass $ 919 billion by 2022 to reach $ 1.2 trillion by 2027.

Wellness tourism relates to any tourist activity that offers a sense of renewal and inspiration. Take, for example, the famous Nakasendo pilgrimage route across central Japan. Depending on budget, it can include forest bathing, soaking in onsen (hot springs), fine dining, staying in and strolling through timeless villages, and daily yoga sessions, all for the purpose of possibly “renewing your spirit.

While India regularly ranks in, or around, the top ten global wellness destinations, Egypt, however, is an emerging segment trying to crack the North Africa-Middle East’s top ten. This explains the current enthusiasm of Egypt’s tourism ministry for “Egyptian Kemetic Yoga.”

Both “Kemetic” and “Egyptian” Yoga refer to the same tradition and, according to its promoters, they are older than India’s yoga by at least 2000 years. It is, however, not a simple “yes/no” answer as to whether this is true, or not. Especially since the earliest mention of Egyptian Yoga, at least, that I have come across, in English, dates to the 1890s. Typically, Kemetic yoga is described as “an ancient Afrakan form of yoga based on the culture of ancient Egypt; known as Kemet, Land of the Blacks.”

Consumer theory explains that promotion of an all-encompassing lifestyle is more profitable than selling discrete products. Kemetic Yoga finds favor among black consumers of wellness in the USA, UK, and Brazil; and, like every brand of Yoga, it is infused with an indigenous “back to nature” and…