Yoga And Islam [world Service]

Episodes

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Broadcast
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01Heart And Soul20131019

Iranian writer and broadcaster Azadeh Moaveni examines the relationship between yoga and Islam in Iran.

Over the last decade the yoga movement in Iran has exploded. Yoga warrants its own magazines and TV shows. And yet this is also a country where physical activity is controlled. Rollerblading and walking dogs in public have been banned. But when it comes to yoga, surprisingly, the government has made little fuss.

In other parts of the Muslim world including in Malaysia and Indonesia, yoga has been deemed incompatible with Islam. In 2008, the Malaysian government issued a fatwa banning some features of yoga practice including the chanting of mantras. The move drew criticisms from many who have felt real physical and mental benefits from yoga.

In this two part series Azadeh, herself a yoga devotee, asks; why has yoga been fully embraced in some Muslim countries but not in others? How do followers of yoga in different parts of the Muslim world view their practice? What are the true spiritual roots of yoga and can the practice be adapted to suit different faiths and perspectives?

She talks to yoga followers, both religious and non-religious, who have practised in Iran and in other parts of the Muslim world. She hears from a leading Iranian cleric about the Iranian authorities’ take on yoga. And she speaks to the Malaysian activist Marina Mahathir, about the 2008 fatwa against yoga in her country.

Produced by Sarah Cuddon, Falling Tree Productions

Picture: Farida Hamza practising yoga

01Heart And Soul2013101920131020 (WS)
20131021 (WS)
20131022 (WS)

Why is yoga so popular in Iran?

Iranian writer and broadcaster Azadeh Moaveni examines the relationship between yoga and Islam in Iran.

Over the last decade the yoga movement in Iran has exploded. Yoga warrants its own magazines and TV shows. And yet this is also a country where physical activity is controlled. Rollerblading and walking dogs in public have been banned. But when it comes to yoga, surprisingly, the government has made little fuss.

In other parts of the Muslim world including in Malaysia and Indonesia, yoga has been deemed incompatible with Islam. In 2008, the Malaysian government issued a fatwa banning some features of yoga practice including the chanting of mantras. The move drew criticisms from many who have felt real physical and mental benefits from yoga.

In this two part series Azadeh, herself a yoga devotee, asks; why has yoga been fully embraced in some Muslim countries but not in others? How do followers of yoga in different parts of the Muslim world view their practice? What are the true spiritual roots of yoga and can the practice be adapted to suit different faiths and perspectives?

She talks to yoga followers, both religious and non-religious, who have practised in Iran and in other parts of the Muslim world. She hears from a leading Iranian cleric about the Iranian authorities’ take on yoga. And she speaks to the Malaysian activist Marina Mahathir, about the 2008 fatwa against yoga in her country.

Produced by Sarah Cuddon, Falling Tree Productions

Picture: Farida Hamza practising yoga

01Heart And Soul2013101920131020 (WS)

Why is yoga so popular in Iran?

01Heart And Soul2013101920131021 (WS)

Why is yoga so popular in Iran?

01Heart And Soul2013101920131022 (WS)

Why is yoga so popular in Iran?

02Heart And Soul20131026

In 2008, the Malaysian government issued a fatwa banning some features of yoga practice, including the chanting of mantras, claiming that they were incompatible with Islam. The move drew criticisms from Muslim and non-Muslim practitioners who have felt real physical and mental benefits from yoga.

Elsewhere Muslims - particularly those of the Middle East - have been practicing yoga widely since the mid 1990s, and the movement is growing. In Iran, where clerics have inveighed against many other trends, yoga is popular enough to warrant its own magazines and TV shows.

In this programme Azadeh asks, why has yoga been fully embraced in some Muslim countries but not in others? How do followers of yoga in the Muslim world view the relationship between their faith and their practice? What are the true spiritual origins of yoga and can the practice be adapted to suit different faiths and perspectives?

She speaks to the Malaysian activist Marina Mahathir, about the 2008 fatwa against yoga in her country. And she talks to a Muslim yoga teacher in the United States whose recent blog detailing her anxieties about the relationship between yoga and Islam provoked worldwide attention.

Produced by Sarah Cuddon, Falling Tree Productions

02Heart And Soul2013102620131027 (WS)
20131028 (WS)

Why has yoga been fully embraced in some Muslim countries but not in others?

In 2008, the Malaysian government issued a fatwa banning some features of yoga practice, including the chanting of mantras, claiming that they were incompatible with Islam. The move drew criticisms from Muslim and non-Muslim practitioners who have felt real physical and mental benefits from yoga.

Elsewhere Muslims - particularly those of the Middle East - have been practicing yoga widely since the mid 1990s, and the movement is growing. In Iran, where clerics have inveighed against many other trends, yoga is popular enough to warrant its own magazines and TV shows.

In this programme Azadeh asks, why has yoga been fully embraced in some Muslim countries but not in others? How do followers of yoga in the Muslim world view the relationship between their faith and their practice? What are the true spiritual origins of yoga and can the practice be adapted to suit different faiths and perspectives?

She speaks to the Malaysian activist Marina Mahathir, about the 2008 fatwa against yoga in her country. And she talks to a Muslim yoga teacher in the United States whose recent blog detailing her anxieties about the relationship between yoga and Islam provoked worldwide attention.

Produced by Sarah Cuddon, Falling Tree Productions

02Heart And Soul2013102620131027 (WS)

Why has yoga been fully embraced in some Muslim countries but not in others?

02Heart And Soul2013102620131028 (WS)

Why has yoga been fully embraced in some Muslim countries but not in others?