Surya Namaskar out, 'Om' not mandatory: Govt

Ayush minister wants Yoga Day to go smoothly

Surya Namaskar out, 'Om' not mandatory: Govt

As India gears up for the mega Yoga show on Sunday, the government on Thursday asserted that Surya Namaskar would not be a part of the official function and chanting of “Om” is not mandatory for those taking part in the early morning mass exercise.

“Surya Namaskar is not part of the (government) protocol and chanting of ‘Om’ is not compulsory, wherein people can chant in the name of the god they wish,” Shripad Naik, Union Minister of State for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy said here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, many Cabinet ministers, public personalities, diplomats, students, officials, NCC cadets and personnel from security agencies will participate in the show, for which they are being trained for the past fortnight following a protocol prepared by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga.

The protocol does not include Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation — a set of 12 Yogic postures, which are to be performed in sequence.

As it is associated with Hindu religion, some Muslim groups expressed reservations. They also have reservations against chanting “Om” or Sanskrit verses during the show.
“The government’s protocol does not include Surya Namaskar. Some NGOs are doing programmes of their own and there are thousands of Asanas there.

They can choose anything for their own programme. Also people can chant as per own their faith as ‘Om’ is not compulsory,” the minister told journalists.

Asked about the objections raised by Hindu groups over excluding the ‘Sun Salutation’ and ‘Om’ chanting, Naik said, “We will convince them later. We have got this opportunity and our Prime Minister has done a good job. This International Yoga Day we have to celebrate without any disturbance. The program will be held on June 21. There is no problem and no controversy at all.”

The final dress rehearsal will take place at Rajpath early on Friday morning. The protocol includes 15 Yogic postures (Asanas) for standing, sitting, pron and supine positions. They are preceded by loosening exercise and followed by breathing exercise like Kapalbhati and Pranayama, and meditation. The half an hour Yoga show would end with a pledge for a healthy life.

While several states will also organise their own mass Yoga show, the armed forces are going ahead with their plans for Yoga sessions in the Siachen base camp at an altitude of 12,000 ft and naval ships INS Shakti and INS Kamorta that are on deployment in the South China Sea.

Besides, there will be Yoga sessions on Sunday in many Army, Air Force and Navy bases to mark the Yoga Day,  which was proposed by Modi in his maiden address to the United Nations last year.

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