Hindus are disheartened over reported ban on yoga classes at St James’ Community Centre (Whitehaven, Cumbria, England), belonging to Whitehaven Parish of Church of England.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged Whitehaven Parish Rector Robert Jackson and Carlisle Bishop James Newcome to show some maturity by re-visiting the issue and not deprive area communities the valuable opportunities the multi-beneficial yoga provided. Moreover, Parish of Whitehaven stated: "Be assured of a warm welcome”.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to intervene in this matter to allow yoga classes in the premises of St James’ Community Centre to bring goodwill among the communities as The Church of England talked of “love for others” and “engage positively with other faiths”.
Rajan Zed indicated that such attempts to bar yoga would leave many in 21st century multicultural England seriously disappointed, embarrassed and unhappy; many of whom might like to explore various valuable benefits yoga offered.
Zed also urged United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Cumbria County Council Chair Christine Bowditch, Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie, Whitehaven Mayor Brian O'Kane to look into how St James’ Community Centre belonging to Church of England, which reportedly received government funding, could ban classes of ancient and highly useful practice of yoga. United Nations proclaimed June 21 as International Day of Yoga to raise awareness worldwide of its many benefits.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Rajan Zed pointed out.
Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. 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.
According to US 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 a report of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Yoga is the most popular complementary health approach in the United States - used by 14.3% of the adult population, or 35.2 million people”. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Rajan Zed stated.
Zed stresses that in our shared pursuit for the truth; we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. Zed invited Rector Jackson to study a treatise on yoga and attend few yoga classes to have firsthand experience of yoga. By barring yoga classes, Jackson was clearly doing a disservice to the residents of Whitehaven and neighboring communities.
St James’ Community Centre is a registered charity; and it's against the law for anyone providing goods, facilities or services directly to the public to discriminate because of religion or belief; which includes charities and voluntary organisations; Rajan Zed adds.
According to reports, an instructor, Tamzin Nav Ananda Kaur, was told sometime back that she could not hold her yoga class at the Community Centre for religious reasons despite her insistence that she was not teaching a religion.