Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yoga Ban

I am sure just about everybody in Malaysia has heard of the recent fatwa on Yoga as this topic has been headlining the news papers for the past couple of days. To be honest, I wanted to avoid the whole political fiasco as this is a fitness blog. But since the lines between these 2 unrelated fields (well at least I thought it was unrelated until now) have been blurred, why not.

My sincere thoughts… I think this ruling is “riddiculous”, for lack of a better term to call this. Why?

1) Honestly… how many people have deviated from Islam because of practicing Yoga? If the person is going to deviate and / or convert, believe me yoga will not be their reason for doing so. So what’s the big fuss.
2) How are these people planning on enforcing this? Will there be a police man at every gym and yoga center? Tell me? Wouldn’t the time and resources of the police be better spent on the street stopping snatch thieves and murederers?
3) Granted, yoga does have some religious elements and roots to it, but in most parts, its meant to help improve health. There are different segments of Yoga and depending on which one you choose to do, you can choose the non spiritual ones which is purely for health and fitness. In fact I don’t think there is any gym which offers the spiritual segment of Yoga. You only get to learn about this from places such as Temple of Fine Arts and other similar religious organizations.
4) Where do we draw the line of this absurdity and bans? Will there be a fatwa on attending weddings in churches, temples etc? Maybe we should all just stick to our little religious colonies and not interact with any other races of religion. The govt talks of racial untiy… how does this even promote that? Isn’t it exactly contradictary? Maybe we should also ban any show that shows a church, a priest of another religion… because hey… who knows, I might get tempted to deviate watching how cool it is on TV.
5) On a philosophical note, religion is a personal thing between you and God. We don’t need police or enforcers playing demi gods or the level between man on God. The way I see it, the more you try to clamp down, the more people will try to rebel and deviate from it… hence making it counter productive as well.
6) I think we are all adults here and should be treated as one. We don’t need this riddiculous supervision as if we are babies who just can’t wait to raid the cookie jar.

By listing down my opinion and thoughts on this matter, please note that I am not in any way trying to put down Islam or Muslims. Please do not get me wrong. I just think this particular fatwa does not make sense and should be removed. In fact all my Muslim friends have also shared their disatisfaction with this fatwa and most of them call it ridicolous as well.

So there you have it… my thoughts on why this is ruling is absurd and should be abolished. Would love to hear thoughts and comments on this.


anfield devotee said...

Me can see it now. This whole fiasco was timed to coincide with Hindraf's planned ist anniversary march.

And as anticipated, non-Muslim's views (in particular Hindu Sangam's comments) got everyone's knickers in a knot.

Even moderate Muslims were up in arms as to why non-Muslims had to "campur tangan". Go see the many blogs & the over-heated rhethoric.

What a load of fooking shite. . .

Rajan said...

AD: Good point. Yeah... i have heard many asking the same question on "Campur tangan" or "why you care... no difference to you what"

People fail to see the hidden agenda behind it.

Well since everything is on hold for the moment, let's see how this unfolds-lah.

Anonymous said...



p.s. catch ya later dude, have got a take on this, will share it tomorrow. cheers

Rajan said...

Moz: Thanks for the link. Look forward to hearing your thoughts

chuck said...

i have linked u!

Rajan said...

Thanks Chuck. I also checked out your blog pacak supplements and didn't know it was you who sent me the email.

Will call you one of these days to about marketing and selling your products.


mozisArudebhoy said...

heya rajen,

chief, another interesting topic that's been at back of nicotine-stained tonsils. the issue has been frothing at the seams for a while now, took a thorny skewer up the arse when i heard the ban.

what irked me was not literally from a religious aspect. i didn't take it up as insult on religious aesthetics, cultural beliefs or tightrope racial issues.

what irked me was the stupidity of ignoring human benefits. what do i mean? well see, it's yoga dude. similar to age-old practices like tai-chi/qi gong, trad martial arts practices (everything from akido to silat) has some of spiritual benefit that rubs from the strenous physical exertions. they have sublime aspect on the mind.
again, i'm not just talking metaphoric spirtual new-age crap here. have felt it, in a personal way. but i'm way to shy to mention it here, will try to lead yu in:

1. a particular common martial art i was into in a big (yes la..way back when i was younger):
as belts changed colours and grades stepped up, a sense of overwhelming self-confidence growns in yu, not only in terms of the art itself but in almost every other thing yu do. some farker comes up and messes yu up? yes, the fear is still undeniably there, but there is an afterthought that's reacts calmly within, we'd go "i can lick this fella". maybe it could be just down to the sweating makin the head clearer, but then again in retrospect most of the exercise they do right particularly the warm-up ones, its the same ones we did from day one, in the same sequence. week in, week out. actual training also almost starts with the same basics. is that for suka-suka, there's a reason for that? these are things that have been around for thousands of years. and here's the beauty, to date i don't think its conversion of beliefs or religion is their main priority

2nd. meditation:
chief,i'm gonna let yu in on something now, hang on, make sure yu hold yur eyeballs in..i'm a practioner of one form of yoga, not the physical form but rather the one they're worried about - the spiritual one. again, let me reiterate to-date i've not been a religious person, who puts religion above anything else, neither have i been much of spiritual one. i am guilty of that, but tell ya something though, these last few years of doing it, has somewhat dwindled much needless aggression, knotted anxieties and above all rendered me calm in a no-give-a-fark way. i wish i could go on abt this, but i shan't. the point is this:

the physical part can be done without the spiritual aspects of chanting and what not. even the meditative part can be modified according to yer own beliefs (not kidding yu abt this - e.g. for christians they can focus on an image of christ if they want or whatever they prefer). but the physical part can be done without it - they key is the breathing mon. its all about that breathing thing that in freaky way does something unbelievable do your body. to say its haram i can accept. to say that its against muslim beliefs i can accept. although, my opinion herein would be labelled derogatory and not needed because i would be deemed interfering. to say, there is potential for people to convert and leave the faith.....hmm..probably an acceptable argument. but how this is going to happen without any religious overtones in the practice - god only knows.

even the trainers providing the physical courses - have modified many aspects of the physical yoga to cater to a mass market. they are not dumb farks. *sigh*

however, to say it does not benefit human kind in any way - that is a bit difficult to swallow. especially an exact science, with detailed instructions, manuals and books written in thousands of languages over thousands of years.

speakin from personal experience dude, i believe in this, if a lets say a thousand people focus on a piece of rock say two times a day and they will it too move say five inches from point A to point B over a duration of time (maybe a long time)- and they can be in any religion on whatever beliefs - believe yu me, that rock is gonna move mate. probably not five, maybe ten. that's about as religious as it gets. for me.
and for yoga.

i know i've rambled on too beladhi much la macha. just fras giler when i heard it thats all. the loss of a human benefit for people who need it. thats all.

very appreciatively,

Rajan said...

Moz... thanks for your thoughts on this issue. And no worries.. i know many other friends who do meditation as well on a daily basis when they wake up in the morning.. and they say it helps be in more control of their emotions and also thoughts. maybe i should try it.

But you are absolutely right.. the trainers have modified it to meet the mass market and this is not some cult bent of making people into Hindu's.

Visited other fitness blogs and some Yoga centers owned by Muslims, and even they feel embarassed with this.

Anonymous said...

rajen-thanks. again, will try to put into lesser aways.

btw, didn't seen bala's comments until just. agreed. ironically, another mate of mine was hinting the same thing of dinner yest, and i concurred with him.

the timing is so right la dude, how else would you expect them to have conveniently forget getting royal assent..hmmmm..
strange but true.


dailymuscle said...

Brother... you need a dictionary.

Rajan said...

Daily Muscle: Welcome to my blog. I check out your blog often too and find it very informative. Cool stuff man... keep it up.

Corporate Athlete said...

I think the Fatwa people is just doing their job, only those who have similar beliefs and faiths will understand it. If you were to read the entire write-ups, it is fair. I would like to blame the media for highlighting it wrongly on the front page - The Star went like this FATWA BANS YOGA....Even, I was shocked! Medias have different goals - they want to sell their materials as many as they can. I agree with Rajan that most of the fitness centres are exercsing yoga without chanting (and that was what being highlighted by the Fatwa Council). As I am also practising yoga, I could benefit many positive results from it - no doubt abt it. We just have to go into the details, and not be blinded by what have been highlighted in the media. Just imagine if The Star would go something like this FATWA BANS PORK.
In a multiracial society like us, we just have to respect the differences (in beliefs and cultures) and enjoy the similarities (like teh tarik, nasi lemak and capati)....hehehe..

p/s - did you know that Fatwa Council also bans smoking (as it is detrimental to one's health). Thus, smoking is haram among muslims. Muslims can still do that, but then, that's between them and God lahh....

Pirkko Alcantara said...

Is this still applicable today? :|

Anyway, in case anyone is interested to do some yoga, the studio where I'm attending classes at is accepting private yoga classes. Check them out here, http://www.serenityyogaretreats.com/private-yoga-classes/