Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah on Sunday said that instead of giving yoga a “religious colour”, it should be taken purely as a “physical exercise”.
Speaking at a symposium-cum-workshop on ‘Well being through Yoga’ at AMU’s Department of Physical Education, Shah said he has been practising yoga “for over 40 years” and has found it “soothing and mentally healing”. Yoga automatically brought discipline in the life of performers, he added.
Maintaining that yoga was an indispensable part of India’s cultural heritage, Shah said he was “proud of this great ethos”. While yoga demanded complete abstinence from drinking liquor, smoking and eating meat, however, he has only abstained from drinking and smoking, the V-C added. “Yoga is useful for those with backache, high blood pressure and diabetes,” he said.
Earlier, a section of students led by former AMU Students’ Union president and incumbent Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha Secretary Shahzad Alam Barni had opposed any largescale celebrations at the university but called off the protest after AMU announced that the programme will just be restricted to a seminar and a workshop. On Sunday, however, Shah reiterated that yoga has had “a deep presence in AMU culture”.
On the occasion, AMU Pro-Vice Chancellor Brigadier S Ahmad Ali said heavy physical workout was the core of military service and that he has always performed yoga.
While delivering a lecture on ‘Yoga and Stress Management’, Professor Akbar Husain of Department of Psychology said Bhagwat Gita had proposed four forms of yoga according to the nature of the person — Gyan Yoga for the knowledge-oriented, Karma Yoga for action-oriented, Dhyan Yoga for experience-oriented and Bhakti Yoga for emotion-oriented. “Upanishads have also upheld the intrinsic relationship between yoga and spirituality… Yoga was a trusted source to attain spiritual bliss,” he added.
Dr Brij Bhushan, associate professor at the department, said AMU has been imparting lessons in yoga through its BPEd and MPEd courses as an essential subject.