Hindus have welcomed Ozarka College of Arkansas, a public community college, for offering “Hatha Yoga” course including “Oms and chanting”, pranayama and meditation.
According to Oxford Dictionary of Hinduism, Hatha-Yoga (yoga of force) is a “form of yogic practice designed to bring about liberation and immortality in this life, through the purification and manipulation of the practitioner’s body”. Originally a part of Raja-Yoga as taught by Patanjali; Gorakhnath, described as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, is credited with systemization of Hatha-Yoga around 9th century.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, termed it as a step in the positive direction to promote Hatha-Yoga among students and community of North Arkansas.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.
This six-week “Hatha Yoga” course will be taught in the Mountain View facility of the College by Nanette Frego, starting January 24, where “participants will also learn how to do Oms and chanting”.
“Om” is the mystical and powerful Sanskrit seed syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.
Launched in 1975, Ozarka College is a comprehensive technical college which serves an area of over 2,420 square miles in Fulton, Izard, Sharp, Stone and Oregon counties where the population below poverty level is 21-25%. With main campus in Melbourne; it has facilities in Ash Flat, Mountain View and Mammoth Spring. Its mission includes “providing life-changing experiences” and its population is 73% female. Dr. Richard L. Dawe is President, while Jack Yancey is Trustees Chair.