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'Banning yoga against the principles of Christianity'
Calling it 'un-Christian' to refuse services to a yoga instructor who was trying to help the pensioners de-stress, calm their minds and improve their flexibility through yoga, a Hindu leader has urged the immediate intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury to permit the yoga classes in St. Andrew's to bring goodwill among the communities.

HINDUS ARE disheartened over a church affiliated to Church of England banning yoga in its premises. According to reports, St. Andrew's Church and Centre, opened in 1999 in Dibden Purlieu, banned an 81-year-old Christian instructor Eileen Meegan, who is great-grandmother of five, from teaching yoga in the church hall, claiming that it was against the church’s religion and dangerous for the mind. “…doing yoga has enhanced my faith as a Christian”, Meegan was quoted as saying and termed church’s action as “ignorance”.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today said that although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, yoga was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. One could still practice one’s respective faith and do yoga. Yoga would rather help one in achieving one’s spiritual goals in whatever religion one believed in. It was not at odds with any faith and rather made one spiritually healthier.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the immediate intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Douglas Williams in this matter to permit the yoga classes in St. Andrew's to bring goodwill among the communities.

Zed stated that yoga, referred as “a living fossil” whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, was a mental and physical discipline handed down from one guru to next, for everybody to share and benefit from. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical. It was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.

Zed pointed out that an Episcopal News Service article titled “Yoga for Episcopalians – a healing discipline” in the past said: “Yoga can teach us to improve our posture, or sharpen our focus during Mass.” St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Washington (DC) “has offered quality yoga instruction” since 1978 emphasizing “effective breathing, mastery of asanas (comfortably held postures), relaxation, positive thinking, and meditation as elements of healthy spiritual living that promote happiness and true knowledge of self”. St. David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne (Pennsylvania) offered in the past “A Quiet Morning of Yoga and Centering Prayer” which included “30 minutes in a guided meditation for a deep, conscious rest”. It also offered “Yoga with Spirit” “vigorous yoga classes”. Episcopal Church was derived from Church of England.

Zed argued that it was simply “un-Christian” to refuse services to a yoga instructor who was trying to help the pensioners de-stress, calm their minds and improve their flexibility through yoga. Love and compassion was the hallmark of Christian ethics. Gospel According to John 13: 34 said: “…Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

Zed stressed that in our shared pursuit for the truth; we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. Dialogue may help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., passed on to us from previous generations, Zed added.

According to United States National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to an estimate, about 16 million Americans, including many celebrities, now practice yoga.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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