Oct 3, 2014

Hindu groups agitated in the US about yoga, why?

I have been very slow in posting here owing to my other preoccupations. However, I could not resist responding to news reports that some Indians in the US claim that yoga is part of Hinduism and others who practise yoga owe to Hinduism and [by implication] should follow tenets of that religion. There are also a number of Christians who feel that practising yoga goes against Christianity.

To say that since yoga is part of Hindu religion, to practise yoga is to practice Hinduism, etc is communal posturing and goes against the deep purpose of yoga. If you seek to unite [=yoga] yourself with the almighty, you will perhaps like to soak in whatever wisdom that is available anywhere. You will also perhaps not like to divide society into sects. On the other hand if you are interested in the healing properties of yoga, how can bending your body or breathing in a particular manner go against your own religious faith? Is your faith in the god that you worship so weak?

Now, it is true that yoga originated in India and those who discovered and refined it happened to practise Hinduism. It is also true that certain sounds [especially mantras] are integral to many Hindu religious practices. But to think that doing yoga goes against other religious faiths is like saying that because taking bath, burning scent sticks, meditation, greeting and blessing are part of Hindu religious practice, others' faith would be defiled if they did these things.

So, dear yoga practitioners, do not be carried away by the self-appointed vanguards of different religions. Their shops sell only hatred. When direct hate does not sell, they fallaciously interpret scriptures, idioms, religious practices, etc.