The Hindu American Foundation believes Hinduism is being stripped away from modern yoga. It’s new campaign is called Take Back Yoga.

“In a way,” said Dr. Aseem Shukla, the foundation’s co-founder, “our issue is that yoga has thrived, but Hinduism has lost control of the brand.”

The HAF  is right, but practitioners clearly find adequate benefits of yoga without being overtly Hindu. I don’t think anyone rejects the roots of yoga in Hinduism (and mandatory point: Hinduism itself is going to be tough to define). However, there is a difference between stripping out Hinduism from yoga and rejecting the link between Hinduism and yoga. Yoga is evolving well — it clearly has tangible benefits for everyone — and confining it in religious boundaries does a disservice to mankind.

I listen to plenty of devotional music where I separate the spiritual component of it from the musical — because I don’t identify with Bhakti rasa anymore. But if the HAF says I must tip my hat to Hinduism everytime I listen to music of Bhakti rasa, I’ll say go screw yourself — which should be easy if they know their yoga well.

Update: A yoga teacher in the U.S. replies to NYTimes. You ought to agree with her.

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