Hindus criticize ban on yoga in Los Angeles parks and beaches

Hindus are critical of Los Angeles City Council’s recent reported decision of banning yoga, among other things, at public beaches and parks.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who strongly criticized the attempts to regulate yoga in the past by various states in USA, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it seemed like an unnecessary obtrusion and burdensome on yoga in Los Angeles. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Los Angeles City Council to reconsider and exclude yoga from the vending ban in city parks and beaches, which appeared to be criminalizing of yoga.

Zed noted that yoga was a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman). For Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

Rajan Zed further said that yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche; and regulating it was kind of a religious infringement. Although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, yoga was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all, Zed added.

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 an estimate, about 21 million Americans, including many celebrities, now practice yoga.

The Council, which has 15 members with history dating back to 1850, is the governing body of the City of Los Angeles. Herb J. Wesson, Jr. and Mitchell Englander are Council’s President and President Pro Tempore respectively.

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