At a press conference held on Wednesday evening, students of Yogacharya B K S Iyengar in Mumbai made an announcement to pay tribute to their guru B K S Iyengar on June 21 by celebrating International Yoga Day in association with The Nehru Science Centre and the National Sports Club of India.
Responding to the recent politics and controversy regarding Yoga Day celebrations, yoga experts and students of BKS Iyengar said, “It is just the nomenclature that has led a few religious groups to oppose Surya Namaskar. Had it been named something else, people would have accepted it as other asanas.”
Birjoo Mehta, Managing Director of Light on Yoga Research Trust said, “If yoga had some other name, people would have accepted it. Surya Namaskar does not actually mean bowing to the sun god. Namaskar means salutation and the asana is done in the morning with a salutation to the sun. Otherwise, it is like any other asana.”
An Iyengar yoga student and one of the 24 members of state- appointed committee Rajvi Mehta said, “Not including Surya Namaskar in the Yoga Day celebration protocol was discussed and decided in March itself. The idea behind this was not any kind of religious objections. Surya Namaskar has many swift moves which wouldn’t have been comfortable for many while performing in open venues. Hence, we did not include any asanas which had inversions and swift moves.” Mehta added that yoga has been practised by millions, belonging to different religions, making it secular.
The celebrations will include over 800 yoga students demonstrating 20 asanas on the Marine Drive promenade followed by a public yoga class at the NSCI stadium in Worli.
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