Who knew that stretching and holding yourself in body twisting poses could be considered offensive to some people? According to Fox news, the University of Ottawa is suspending their yoga class because it is not sensitive enough to particular groups of people.
Yoga instructor Jennifer Scharf offered free weekly Yoga sessions to a group of 60 students, that is until the school informed Scharf that she would not be able to offer her class during the next semester.
A representative from the University’s Student Federation informed Scharf that “while yoga is a really great idea and accessible and great for students, there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice. Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practices and which cultures those practices are being taken from.”
The reason to suspend the Yoga class is because the cultures in which Yoga hails from “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and Western supremacy.” The student federation informs that “we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practicing yoga.”
Acting Student Federation President Romeo Ahimakin said that the Yoga ban will remain in effect until they can find a way to “make it better, more accessible and more inclusive to certain groups of people that feel left out in yoga-like spaces. We are trying to have those sessions done in a way in which students are aware of where the spiritual and cultural aspects come from, so that the sessions are done in a respectful manner.”
The university’s actions just proves how literally anyone can find offense with anything. The same reasoning behind shutting down the yoga class can be used the same way to shut down your favorite restaurant or store because somewhere in any country or culture’s history there are questionable events.
Even Scharf is incredulous about the University’s decision. “People are just looking for a reason to be offended by anything they can find,” she said. Scharf plans to fight for her class. However, she might have better luck and more peace of mind if she were to move her class to a less liberal University.