The University of Ottawa in Canada is ending a free on-campus yoga class over concerns the popular meditative exercise routine could be seen as a form of "cultural appropriation."
The university's Centre for Students with Disabilities is claiming "while yoga is a really great idea and accessible and great for students ... there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice."
The center, operated by the school's Student Federation, said there has been a lot of controversy lately over how yoga is being practiced.
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, Stephanie Dillon conducts a yoga class in Louisville, Ky. Dillon's practice of yoga puts her at odds with Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler who feels the stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
But Jennifer Scharf, who teaches the free yoga, class, told the Ottawa Sun that people are "just looking for a reason to be offended by anything they can find."
"There's a real divide between reasonable people and those people just looking to jump on a bandwagon. And unfortunately, it ends up with good people getting punished for doing good things," Scharf said.
The center suggested that some practices involved in the routine "are being taken from" some cultures that "have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy."
Thus, the center contends, "we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practicing yoga."
Acting student federation president Romeo Ahimakin said that as a result, student leaders are looking at ways to make students aware of where the spiritual and cultural aspects of yoga come from, "so that these sessions are done in a respectful manner."
Meanwhile, yoga classes have been put on hiatus. It was not clear when or if they might resume.
(H/T: Ottawa Sun)
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