A US-based Hindu group is critical of City of Vancouver’s permit and insurance requirement for yoga classes in City’s parks, “whether you charge a fee or not”.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement wondered that while many cities in USA were offering free yoga classes in their parks; Vancouver (Canada), which claims to be “building inclusive communities” and “one of the best places on earth to live”, had imposed permit-insurance requirement on multi-benefit yoga.
It seemed like an unnecessary obtrusion and burdensome on yoga in Vancouver, and apparently a step in the negative direction, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated.
Rajan Zed urged Vancouver City Council and Mayor Gregor Robertson, and Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and its Chair Michael Wiebe, to reconsider and exclude yoga from the permit-insurance requirement in all the over 230 public parks.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman), and regulating it was kind of a religious infringement. Yoga was for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed noted.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. 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.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.
Moreover, per City’s website: “Permits are not possible at all parks, at all times. We do not give permits for private recreation within Stanley Park and the seawalls, nor on many of the beach park locations.” Applications require a deposit fee and per hour permit fee plus taxes, even for non-profit groups. The City also requires that you carry liability insurance.