Tomorrow, Mumbai will prove it has the courage of its contortions. The International Yoga Day is upon us, and venues across the city are marking the day with yoga camps, workshops, demonstrations and lectures on the benefits of yoga.
The International Yoga Day, mandated by the United Nations (UN) has been a roaring success throughout and every effort must be made to use the popularity as a springboard, and, actually propel yoga so that more people make the practice into a way of life, not just mark it on one day of the year.
Yet, when anything becomes a diktat, it punctures the pleasure of the practice, so there should be no coercion on anybody to mark the yoga day by attending a camp or a workshop or even joining a demonstration.
For years, yoga has existed in India without any kind of controversy about faith or religion. This has bubbled forth only recently. Thus, it should also not be given a communal colour. Of late, we have seen some controversy about Muslims not allowed to practice yoga, or that Hindutva is being propagated in the guise of yoga day. Politicians and those who seek to gain by creating cleaves in society have exploited these sentiments, adding an unnecessary motive of religion and faith to the day and the practice of yoga as a whole. Nonetheless, is heartening to see the boom. This international day has certainly catapulted yoga into the limelight and on the world stage. Nations globally, are marking the day in different ways too, most of all with demonstrations and hour-long sessions of yoga.
Let the cornerstone of this practice and the day, be all about the freedom to choose whether you want to do yoga or not. Put yoga in the correct context an exercise for mind and body, rather than any kind of ideology. Those who wish to practice it and mark the day, may be free to do so, those who do not, need not be forced in any way.
After all, the basis of yoga is flexibility and so, when espousing this science of the body, a flexible approach is all we need. To each his own asana, we say this International Yoga Day.