When the Indian Government started promoting Yoga, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury equated Yoga to a dog’s movement. He said, "All yoga exercises can be noticed in dog's body movement." He remarked that Yoga was a threat to India’s secularism and democracy and Yoga Day celebration is an attempt to promote the Hindutva agenda.
"Such mass mobilisation for yoga sessions is a tactic similar to that adopted by dictators in the past. Through such exercise, attention is diverted from basic issues confronting people," Yechury said.
However, the Communist rulers in Cuba do not share Yechury’s concerns, as Yoga is becoming very popular in the country. Prof. Eduardo Pimentel Vázquez, the President and Founder of the Cuban Yoga Association, is a leading figure for Yoga in that country. He has been teaching Yoga in Cuba for 30 years, and has trained 50 instructors.
Prof. Pimentel says Yoga has become quite popular in the country. People of all ages are spotted in parks, rooms, and museums performing Yoga.
As per the interview, it was a book that changed the life of Prof Eduardo Pimentel Vázquez. He was a chess player since the age of 12 and, one day, he was gifted a book on Yoga when he saw the Yoga techniques (in 1972), he started practicing by following books and he has not stopped studying Yoga since then.
Prof. Pimentel defines Yoga as a philosophy more than anything else. He further adds that Yoga is of immense interest to the western world, especially its physical practice. He has taught Yoga lessons in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico. In his last book published in 2018, Tu session de yoga (Your Yoga session) he quotes that Yoga is a preventive system and that it has been acknowledged as a part of the Traditional and Natural Medicine Department of the globally acclaimed Ministry of Public Health of Cuba since 1995.
Prof. Pimentel believes that a single posture doesn't make a yoga session. He recommends practicing a series. There are two of his favourite postures which help in releasing stress. One of them is Trikonasana which helps to reduce stress and anxiety as well as relaxes the hormones. The other is head shirshasana which helps in improving core strength and blood circulation.
Every year the International Day of Yoga (IDY) is observed in Cuba with considerable enthusiasm. In 2020 also, they observed the 6th IDY across the country, with active involvement of the Embassy of India in Havana.
Yoga Gets Foothold in Islam’s Birthplace
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has introduced Yoga, Ayurveda and Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharat in its curriculum. The religious study texts would also include chapters about Buddhism and other religions too. It’s all part of the Vision 2030 document prepared under the guidance of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
Prince Salman, under his vision to bring dramatic changes in how the Kingdom operates, has been implementing widespread changes in its policies. Till now, the Islamic country, which follows the radical Wahabi version of Islam did not allow symbols of other religions in public. And to prepare the younger generation for a more globalised world, English language has been made compulsory.
Nouf Almarwaai, a Saudi-based Yoga teacher tweeted on April 15 a screenshot of her child’s question paper which has questions about Hinduism and Buddhism. Almarwaai was conferred Padma Shri in 2018 for popularising Yoga in Saudi Arabia.