Muslim youngsters in Madhya Pradesh practise yoga, delink it from religion

For these youngsters, yoga is just an exercise to become strong, shlokas are just sayings in Sanskrit and the word Om is just an official term.
Muslim students practice yoga as part of International Yoga Day celebrations at a school in Ahmedabad in Gujarat.(AP)
Muslim students practice yoga as part of International Yoga Day celebrations at a school in Ahmedabad in Gujarat.(AP)
Updated on Jun 21, 2017 11:21 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bhopal | By, Bhopal

While most Muslims object to practising yoga on the ground that it is anti-Islamic, a group of youth from the community in Bhopal is doing the asanas, saying it is wrong to see everything through the religious prism.

For these youngsters, yoga is just an exercise to become strong, shlokas are just sayings in Sanskrit and the word Om is just an official term.

16-year-old Gulnaz (name changed) feels that neither is her religion Islam so insecure that it could be affected by just a morning exercise called yoga nor is Hinduism so small that it can be taught during a 15-minute yoga.

“When people called practising yoga un-Islamic, I felt pity for them. These people don’t know the strength of our religion,” she said.

Gulnaz said she did not understand why teachers asked her to take permission from her parents for yoga classes which was started a few years ago.

“But now I do. It is because some misguided people have created a controversy where none exists. In any case, my parents had no objection to my practicing yoga,” she said.

For Sahista Bano (21), a student of MLB College, Bhopal, who has been practising yoga for three years, it is the best way to keep her mind ‘fresh’.

“I love my religion but I don’t connect everything in my day-to-day activities with my religion. I practice yoga as it is a good exercise for me,” she says, recalling how she learnt yoga during an NCC camp.

“I chant ‘om’ because the vibration generated from the ‘om relaxes my mind. We listen to music without thinking about which religion it belongs to. Similarly, I chant ‘om’. This is just a term for me,” she said, adding that she has taught yoga to her family too.

Engineering student Zaidul Haq, who hails from Sheopur district, is another yoga enthusiast who has no problems chanting shlokas starting with ‘Om’.

“I chant the shloka ‘Sarve Bhantu Sukhina’ without any hesitation because, to me, it is just a prayer that asks for happiness for mankind in Sanskrit language. It is not related to any religion,” Haq says.

All these students performed yoga on International Yoga day in Bhopal.


    She is a senior reporter based at Bhopal. She covers higher education, social issues, youth affairs, woman and child development related issues, sports and business & industries.

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