The United Nations 'Family of Classifications'

At the moment, the background to the allocation of yoga to the classification of sports and recreation education is obscure.

Minutes and meetings of the relevant commissions, groups and sub-groups are not searchable on the UN website.

It may be possible to trawl the records manually to find an evidence trail that might justify the problematic classification.

However, most of the minutes of the various sub-committees are in PDF format and it will take some time to drill down into the data to find out how the sports, recreation and vocational education sector was awarded such a privileged position in influencing how yoga is developed under the auspices of the UN.

In general ISIC follows a narrow definition of sport and the Expert Group on International Statistical Classifications has earlier ruled to classify yoga as a recreational activity.

Yoga is classified in ISIC in two different places depending on whether the activity consists mainly of teaching or practising yoga:

  • Units that organise yoga as a recreational activity are classified in 9329 (Other amusement and recreation activities n.e.c.).
  • Units whose principal activity is yoga education are classified within Education in 8541 (Sports and recreation education. Please note that this has to be specialised, structures education. Simply acquiring yoga skills while doing it would not meet these criteria.

UNSD 2016