As countdown to International Yoga Day on June 21 has begun, students of an Islamic school in Ahmedabad are setting an example of communal harmony and proving to be a fitting response to controversies surrounding Yoga Day.
Students of Anjuman-e-Islam have been practising Yoga daily for 30 minutes without associating the religion with the exercise. In fact, the students and teachers at the school believe that Yoga helps them in keeping up with the fasting during the ongoing month of Ramadan, ANI reported.
"We all know that Yoga has several benefits. Yoga is not associated to any religion and can be practised by everyone. Yoga helps us to get through the day in a healthy fashion. We are not supposed to drink water nor eat anything during Ramadan and practising this helps us with the pressure," Nameera, a student, was quoted as saying by ANI.
A number of controversies revolving around International Yoga Day erupted last year when various minority groups opposed the chanting of Om and Surya Namaskar (paying salutations to the sun) during the yoga exercises.
The Indian government has decided not include Surya Namaskar and not make Om chanting compulsory this year on International Yoga Day.
At Anjuman-e-Islam School, however, the mood is completely different -- with the faculty and students endorsing Yoga practices likewise.
Mallick Husseinbai, the Physical Health instructor of the school, told ANI that the practising Yoga is proving to be highly beneficial for the students and that chanting of 'Omkar' mantra is an option the school leaves to the students.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in a letter addressed to all the Union ministers urged them to make 'Yoga' a mass movement .
"The International Day of Yoga is not simply an event. It is a way of making yoga an integral part of our lives. It is a means of popularising yoga among the masses, across social strata, in different age groups so that we can enhance our mental and physical well being. It is towards this end that I solicit your support," Modi said in the letter, as reported by the Indian Express.