The outcome of the big fatwa meeting this past weekend basically echoed the conclusions drawn from the Malaysian ban last November: Yoga is OK as long as it is strictly for exercise. So, no chanting. Needless to say, yoga teachers in the region are not thrilled, although considering the circumstances we see this as somewhat of a reasonable compromise. In other words, it could’ve been worse.
Pujiastuti Sindhu, a Muslim and the owner of the Yoga Leaf Studio in Bandung, disagrees with the ruling…
“The clerics are afraid that people who practise yoga are worshipping another god but we are not. It’s only because they don’t understand what yoga is and they feel it’s a threat. They should go to yoga class and try it,” she said, adding that the purpose of chanting mantras was not to pray but to focus thoughts and had no relationship with worshipping.
While a ban on yoga sucks at least it’s not strictly forbidden, and it is encouraging to hear a forward thinking attitude.
Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who opened the meeting on Saturday, urged the Ulema Council to ensure that its fatwas did not “sow fear” and were in line with a changing world.
Meanwhile, the jury is still out on the smoking ban (mainly due to economics and political crap we won’t get into). Pretty hilarious though, yoga and smoking – obviously very closely related dangers facing the people today!
Update: Yoga was banned for minors and pregnant women. But no national ban has been declared.
Yoga Teachers Dispute Fatwa [Reuters via News24.com]