Yoga – Is Chanting mantras mandatory?
There goes a debate in our country about chanting mantras during Yogic exercies and making it mandatory in schools and institutions. Many argue that Yoga is irreligious and not connected to any religion despite learning the reports about its roots to Hinduism. Nevertheless, the present government has brought Yoga under the curriculum in educational establishments amid strong criticism of showing its face of religious, fundamental nature.
On the other hand, many secular forces are willing to concur with this move by the Central government as the belief and popularity of Yoga has been significantly evident among the public. Further to this, the Yoga movement initiated by Yogic gurus such as Baba RamDev and the announcement of the International Yoga Day by the U.N. have brought this anicient practice even to the layman.
Now, the question of chanting mantras while performing Yoga has ascended vastly leaving some skeptics in some circles. The main and the most likeable part of Yoga is all about performing various Asanas. Even though meditation and Yoga sadhanas contribute the spiritual part of Yoga, it is the Asanas that caters the much needed food for mind and bodily parts. The religious ingredient of chanting “Om” or any mantras do exist when we do some Asanas.
In ancient days, rishis and sadhus chant mantras while performing tapas. They did tapas in different postures and those positions are very much part of Yoga. One must admit and realize that chanting cannot be done with all postures of Yoga and Asanas. For instance, sirshasana, savasana, Oordhva-Padmasana, sarvangasana, Halasana, Matsyasana are few asanas during which one shall not utter any words. But still, some practicioners say that we can utter words at the gullet inwardly to ourselves. However it is important to keep that this habit would not cause strain unnecessarily and could beat the very purpose of doing such poses.
Equanimity is Yoga. With the realization of the fact that Yoga is both spiritual and religious, one must have to be extra-cautious in this experiment of walking along the tight-rope on the sky.
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