US Hindus find Melbourne yoga competition unsettling

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 10:56 hrs

Melbourne, Feb 11 (IBNS) A US based Hindu group said they are critical of turning yoga into a competitive sport as "2013 Australian National Yoga Asana Championship" was held at Melbourne on February 10, and find the idea "particularly unsettling".

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), said that yoga, a reportedly pre-Indus Valley civilization practice, was a mental and physical discipline, a code of ascetic practices, and a feature of contemplation in Hinduism.

Believed to be founded by Yajnavalkya and codified later by Patanjali in Yoga-sutra, it was an integral part of Hinduism, he said.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that idea of yoga as a competitive sport was contradictory to the basic core of yoga, and smelled of mercantile greed in a consumerist society.

"It gave the appearance of contortionists at a circus focused on winning trophies. Pushing this spiritual and inward-looking practice with long held traditions for competition and making it a public performance was distortion of its originally intended idea and plainly just ´missing the point´, said Zed.

"Let us please leave the sacred in yoga intact and protect it from push culture," he stressed.

Zed pointed out that 'yoga', which had come to mean in the West as 'modern postural yoga', was actually a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human soul united with universal soul.

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