If you believe your body to be ‘temple of God’ then neglecting it is out of the question. Coming out from the confines of religion, the south Kolkata’s Muslim women have opted for yoga to keep themselves fit. Age no bar for these burqa-clad women who gather at Park Circus Maidan and for them yoga has become more of a fitness ritual.
Most of the women come from disadvantaged backgrounds and they either cannot afford to go to gyms or are engaged in household chores most of the time. For them, this is a huge benefit as they have neglected their health for a long time.
Due to the increase in the number of women, few organizations have also come forward and provided them with yoga instructors.
While talking to India Today, Tamanna Firdaus, who had health-related issues said, “I have quit medicine after starting yoga. We don’t differentiate people on the basis of caste or religion here. We do all the exercises taught to us.”
Abdul Hamid, who teaches yoga to these women on weekends said that about 70-80 women come to practice yoga now and doing yoga can keep health problems at bay. She has been doing yoga for 22 years. “We teach exercises to people of all ages… cardio, yoga, everything. People coming here cannot go to gyms and cannot afford to buy mats. The women have benefitted a lot from here. Except chanting ‘Om’, we teach all types of yoga,” she said.
However, they refrain from Surya Namaskar and chanting Om as their religion doesn’t believe in. The exercise which contains certain breath control exercises have originated from Hindu scriptures, but these women do not have issues with that because of the health benefits it provides.