I read a letter sent by a muslim yoga practitioner that was published by NST yesterday. It goes like this:
I have to admit that I loved yoga. When I first learned that a fatwa would be issued regarding yoga, I was furious. I began debating with my family, telling them that yoga had nothing to do with religion and the only goal was good health.
I said the National Fatwa Council members were not people who had ever done yoga and they have in no postion to judge what yoga is.
Fortunately, I am still a faithful muslim and when a fatwa was announced, I quickly complied with the new ruling. However, I did a simple Wikipedia search on yoga and pilates. This was the first time I did any research on the word. I was defending yoga with no real knowledge and basis of what yoga really is.
After a mere 10 minutes, I was shocked by what I discovered. The goal of yoga is definitely agaisnt all Islamic teaching and values. I urge yoga lovers to look into these articles. I also learnt that yoga has been banned in several churches in Britain as being un-Christian.
Even though I was practising yoga purely for health reasons, I was blinded by the meditation and relaxation techniques actually stand for. As a former yoga enthusiast, I humbly admit that what the National Fatwa Council proposed is undoubtedly the right thing to do. We should be thankful that such fatwa came at this time when we are still faithful to Islam.
The ban on yoga isn't the end of the world. There are many exercises out there. And I wouldn't trade my faith for any exercise routine, ever.