among those practicing yoga in malaysia are cancer patients, for whom yoga, qi gong and line dancing sessions are organized as methods of relaxation and light exercise, as well as group interaction to "promote positive thinking and unity among survivors of different race and religion".
The National Fatwa Council's chairman, Abdul Shukor Husin, said many Muslims fail to understand that yoga's ultimate aim is to be one with a god of a different religion — an explanation disputed by many practitioners who say yoga need not have a religious element.
"We are of the view that yoga, which originates from Hinduism, combines physical exercise, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god," Abdul Shukor said...
The edict reflects the growing influence of conservative Islam in Malaysia, a multiethnic country of 27 million people where the majority Muslim Malays lost seats in March elections and where minority ethnic Chinese and mostly Hindu ethnic Indians have been clamoring for more rights.
Recently, the council said girls who act like boys violate Islam's tenets. The government has also occasionally made similar conservative moves, banning the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims earlier this year, saying it would confuse Muslims...
In recent years, yoga — a collection of spiritual and physical practices, aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit — has been increasingly practiced in gyms and dedicated yoga centers around the world.
There are no figures for how many Muslims practice yoga in Malaysia, but many yoga classes have Muslims attending.
In the United States, where it has become so popular that many public schools began offering it in gym classes, yoga has also come under fire.
Some Christian fundamentalists and even secular parents have argued that yoga's Hindu roots conflict with Christian teachings and that using it in school might violate the separation of church and state. Egypt's highest theological body also banned yoga for Muslims in 2004.
hmm, i wonder what the reaction to this will be at my markaz yoga group?!