Swami Ramdev was born in 1965 as Ramkishan Yadav in Alipur, Mahendragarh district of Indian state of Haryana. He attended school through the 8th grade in Shahjadpur. Thereafter, he joined a yogic monastery (gurukul) in Khanpur village to study Sanskrit and Yoga. Eventually, he renounced worldly life and entered into Sanyas (monastic living) - taking the name Swami Ramdev.
Then he went to Jind district and joined the Kalva gurukul and later imparted free Yoga training to villagers across Haryana. It is said that he travelled the Himalayas for several years before he settled in Haridwar. He discovered several medicinal plants in the Himalayas which he uses in treating his patients. Swami Ramdev started relentless efforts to popularise Yoga in 1995 with the establishment of Divya Yoga Mandir Trust, along with Acharya Karamveer and Acharya Balkrishna.
In 1995, Baba Ramdev joined the order of swamis after being initiated into the ascetic order by Swami Shankerdevji Maharaj. While training to be a Swami, Baba Ramdev spent many years undertaking an intense and thorough study of ancient Indian scriptures. At the same time, he also practiced intense self-discipline and meditation.
He teaches that God resides in every human being and that the body is God's temple. He is a firm believer in the concept of Vasudaiv Kutambakam (the whole World is one family) and decries practices that discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or gender. His fundamental belief is that expressions of love, affection and compassion towards all living things are the true worship of the Creator.
Swami Ramdev has taught several aspects of traditional Indian scriptures such as Ashtadhyayee, Mahabhashya and Upanishads along with six systems of Indian Philosophy in various Gurukuls (traditional Indian systems of education). He has helped establish Gurukuls in Kishangarh, Ghashera, and Mahendragarh in India. He has also founded the Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust which has built several institutions. In addition to helping people learn about Yoga and spirituality, these institutions also provide a comprehensive facility that promotes the practice of Ayurveda - the traditional system of holistic medicine developed in India.
He teaches Pranayama which is a series of techniques for breath control that were developed as a part of the ancient Indian system of Yoga. Heretofore, these techniques were often thought of as being esoteric and complex and portrayed as being unsuitable for lay people. Consequently, their use was often limited to advanced practitioners of Yoga and undertaken only under the strict supervision of an experienced teacher. Swamiji has worked diligently to break these barriers and help make the practice of Pranayama achievable by the ordinary layperson.
He has devised a set of six simple Pranayama breathing exercises as listed in the section below. These techniques have been readily embraced by the general public as evidenced by the following facts:
His educational show is broadcast on Indian national TV (AASTHA channel)from morning 6-8 am and evening 8-9 pm (IST) several times a week and he also has dedicated shows such as Total Tandurusti airing on Zee network, a show on Sahara One at 9:00 am, Yoga Science on IndiaTV at 7:30 am & 1:30 pm. Total viewership is in millions. According to the synopsis that is available to Sky Digital viewers, Swami Ramdev "claims that he was a paralytic" prior to taking up yoga, but this claim has yet to be completely verified.
He has been conducting monthly training camps in cities all over India. Total attendance in these camps exceeds tens of thousands. In 2006 Summer, the Swami spent almost a month in London teaching Pranayam & yoga.
Viewers of the TV show and attendees at the camp have reported significant improvements in their health - citing relief from many illnesses such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Arthritis, Thyroid Problems, Hypertension, Stomach ailments and different types of cancer without the use of any medicines. But it should also be noted that most of these 'patients' speak on television for the first time and are over awed by the situation. Like most human beings in such situations, these patients are susceptible to exaggeration, which may explain the miracles he is believed to perform.