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Why Oppose Yoga?

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Dr. Vedapratap Vaidik

A untoward incident happened in Male, the capital of Maldives. On June 21, people were attacked while celebrating Yoga Day. Hooligans damaged public and private properties. Some of the attackers were arrested. This was not the first time that Yoga Day was celebrated in Maldives. Since 2015, Yoga Day has been celebrated in the Island nation. Foreign diplomats, local leaders and common people used to participate in the celebrations. There has been no discrimination of indigenous, foreign or Hindu-Muslim in these yoga-camps.

The camps were open to all. Yoga day is not celebrated only in India. It is popular in all the countries across the world, because the United Nations has recognized the yoga day.

In the Maldives, yoga and yoga-day celebration has been opposed by radical Islamic elements. They say that yoga is anti-Islam. If so, why do dozens of Islamic countries of the United Nations endorse Yoga Day?  Why didn’t these elements oppose their decision?

Do  a miniscule minority of such extremist Islamists in Maldives represent the entire Islamic world? The truth is that these trouble mongers of Maldives are out to defame Islam. As I understand Islam has nothing against Yoga. Does yoga teach paganism? Are those who practice yoga told not to  do Namaz or observe Roza?In a way Namaz and Roza are simple forms of yoga.

It is true that yoga practitioners are asked to be vegetarian. Being a vegetarian does not mean  you need to be a Hindu or a Kafir. Which verse of Quran Sharif says that those who are vegetarian will be considered as substandard Muslims? The doors of yoga are also opened for those who cannot give up non-vegetarian food. Yoga is not related to any religion. Yoga is the perfect method to correct you mentally and physically for a peaceful life. All humans can practice yoga and there is no discrimination of any sorts.

Do you feel that for Muslims, to maintain health, the Unani system of medicine, which was practiced in Arab countries one and a half thousand years ago, is enough? Will they reject Allopathy, Homeopathy and Naturopathy? Of course they will not! In this modern world we need to be willing to follow both the modern and ancient methods. That is why people in Europe and America where the Allopathic system of medicines originated are seriously learning yoga. They have realised that yoga is more than a therapy. Yoga is an armor to protect you from physical and mental ailments.

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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