Hindus laud San Diego Museum for offering yoga

Hindus have applauded San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) in California (USA) for launching yoga on its premises.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, termed it as “a step in the right direction” to make yoga available to Museum patrons and others. Yoga, introduced and nourished by world’s oldest religion Hinduism, usually referred as “a living fossil”, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse for everybody to share and benefit from, Zed added.

Titled “Yoga at the Museum”, its announcement says: “Strengthen your mind and body as you meditate on the art all around you.” With Amy Pachowicz as instructor, it “focuses on renewal, creation, and lifeforce. The goals are to increase energy through basic pranayama (breath work), supported backbends, beginning inversions and twists, and restorative poses. Hip-opening poses will also be taught as a way to increase creativity.”

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged major art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to also launch yoga on their premises.

Rajan Zed pointed out that yoga was a mental and physical discipline and a repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche. 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.

In 2010, SDMA established a “Temple” within its premises, complete with statues of various Hindu deities after “twenty-year-long effort on the part of the curators and administration”. With Ganesha reportedly presiding over the doorway, statues installed in this dark red walled “Temple” included a 6th century sandstone “Shiva as Lord of Music”, bronze “Shri Devi” from circa 1100, copper alloy “Sambandar, Child Saint Devoted to Shiva” from circa 1100, 10-11th century sandstone “Attendants of Vishnu”, Cambodian Hindu ascetic, and other images in bronze, wood, stone and paintings, numbering around 55. It also reportedly displayed wood carvings taken from temple chariots.

Zed then commended SDMA for providing opportunity to the world to further explore Hinduism and its concepts.

SDMA in Balboa Park, whose history goes back to 1926, provides a rich and diverse cultural experience for about 350,000 visitors annually. Its permanent collection includes Spanish and Italian old masters and it regularly features major exhibitions from around the world. It is said to own about 1,500 folios sporting Indian paintings and calligraphy. Frank Rogozienski is its Board of Trustees President, while Roxana Velasquez is the Executive Director.

Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions defines “yoga” as: “The means or techniques for transforming consciousness and attaining liberation…”  According to an estimate, about 16 million Americans, including many celebrities, now practice yoga.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

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