Istanbul: Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today criticized the banning of sacred symbols at Yoga centers by the Turkey government.
Last month, Turkey officials had banned all religious symbols and music from Yoga centers operating in the country. As a result, playing religious music or sacred chants, exhibiting sacred symbols, keeping sacred statues, or burning incenses were prohibited.
The directive to ban religious symbols was prepared by the Sports for Everyone Federation of Turkey (HİS) and was then passed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Hürriyet daily had quoted Süleyman Gönülateş, the Technical Board head of HIS as saying: “At the drafting stage, the opinions of yoga trainers were sought. We mean all religions, including Islam with the phrase ‘different religions.’ When symbols belonging to religions enter sports centers, then missionary work and politics begins. If yoga is a sport, then it should have nothing in it which is related to religion. We don’t want to see explicit symbols such as crosses at sports centers.”
Criticizing this ban, Zed described it as “unnecessary obstruction and burdensome on Yoga in Turkey.”
He noted that Yoga was a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) is united with the universal-soul (parmatman).
Urging Turkey to reconsider its decision, Zed added that Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche and attempts at regulating it were kind of an infringement.
Yoga being the ultimatum for a good respiratory system
Smog, the choking threat which has landed the national capital in a pollution emergency, has been the cause of many respiratory problems in children and adults. When your daily commute feels like living on the edge, what are your other outdoor activities supposed to feel like?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is dangerous to breathe when there is too much smog. Smog contains ozone particles, and elevated ozone levels can have a variety of negative effects on your lungs.
While it is advised to stay indoors when the air is toxic outside, a more practical solution would be to establish a habit of cleansing your respiratory organs through Yoga.
If Yoga has been shown to improve the quality of life of lung cancer patients, it could definitely do wonders against other respiratory issues. Here are a few asanas you could try to give you relief from chest congestion, respiratory flues and discomfort in breathing.
* Pranayama: This has proved beneficial for those suffering with bronchitis or lung congestion.
How to do it:
1. While performing pranayama one should make sure that his or her back is straight and should concentrate on the breathing.
2. Sahaj Pranayama, which is also called easy breathing, involves breathing a few times deeply.
3. Inhale through the nostrils for five counts and hold the breath for 10 counts.
4. Exhale through the mouth for 10 counts; this has to be repeated 10-12 times.
* Adho Mukha Svanasana: This posture strengthens the chest muscles and expands the lung region, increasing its capacity.
How to do it:
1. From table top position, tuck your toes, straighten your legs and lift your hips towards the ceiling.
2. Adjust your hands forward a bit, if necessary, and spread your fingers.
3. Keep your spine long, and your head and neck in line with your spine. Hold for one minute.
* Bhujangasana: This asana opens up the heart and lungs and gives them a good stretch.
How to do it:
1. Lie on your stomach; engage your back muscles in lifting your head and upper torso.
2. Align your elbows underneath your shoulders for support.
3. Open your chest and relax your shoulders away from your ears.
4. Look straight ahead and hold for one minute.
* Sukhasana: This heavy breathing seated position relieves yourself from stress, anxiety and exhaustion.
How to do it:
1. Sit erect, with the feet stretched out towards the front.
2. Now cross the legs in such a way that the knees are wide, shins are crossed, and each foot is placed under the knee. Knees must be bent, and legs should be tucked into the torso.
3. Feet must be relaxed, and the outer edges must rest on the floor while the inner edges must arch on the shins. Look down on your legs, must see a triangle formed by shins that are crossed and both the thighs.
4. Back must be balanced in such a way that the tailbone and the pubic bone are at equal distance from the floor.
5. Place the palms stacked up in your lap. Or you can also lay them on the knees palms up or palms down.
6. Elongate the tailbone, and firm up the shoulders. But make sure the lower back is not arched in such a way that it pokes the lower ribs forward.
* Marjari Asana: This involves deep breathing, which in turn expands the lungs and boosts blood circulation.
How to do it:
1. Begin with Adhomukhi Swanasana
2. Lean forward and place your knees down on your mat
3. Inhale, look up and relax
4. Inhale as you drop your knees
5. While navigating back, shift the body weight from the knees to palms and feet.
(Akshar is founder and course director of Bengaluru’s Akshar Yog. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) (IANS)
Tomorrow (November 24) is the popular Thanksgiving Day in USA. Observed on the fourth Thursday of November, it is a much awaited holiday. It also kind of sets off the holiday season of the winters that ends with the celebrations of New year.
Thanksgiving Day has its roots in settlers (pilgrims) in Plymouth celebrating a feast after the successful harvest that season. That was in 1621. But the Thanksgiving has continued and today it is an occasion to express thanks and gratitude to one’s own blessings to life and opportunities and one’s beliefs in general. Thus, rightly so, Thanksgiving Day is the occasion to give alms and do charity. This is the day for people to come together as families and count the blessings and celebrate the life together. Thanksgiving Dinner thus is considered a very special feast.
Thanksgiving and food go together. After all, supper is an occasion to meet, share and celebrate. Amongst all the food and beverages, Turkey is the unifying theme. Turkey is served on this day as a mark of Thanksgiving. How so ever painful it may sound, the stark reality is that Thanksgiving comes at the altar of turkeys. They are sacrificed so that we can celebrate thanksgiving. I read somewhere that 88 % Americans eat turkey on this day, according to a survey conducted by American Turkey Association. Looking at sheer numbers, 44 Million turkeys are ‘enjoyed’ on Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day stands to symbolize a very beautiful human sentiment: Thankfulness in general and gratitude in particular. That is why it so bothers me to see how such a humane expression is oblivious to the cruelty that carries along with!
Will we ever observe a Turkey-less Thanksgiving Day? After all, when turkey can get a Presidential Pardon, why not a Public Pardon?
Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom. Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
America The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date. But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.
Canada Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.
But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
Liberia In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.
Netherlands Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.
But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.
Food: The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.
Black Friday: Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.
Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.
Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.