Hollywood celebs urged to explore 'yoga' with spirituality

New Delhi, Wed, 12 Nov 2008 NI Wire

Yoga, the method of self-control and discipline, whose traces were found as early as 2,000 BCE in Indus Valley Civilization, is becoming the fitness soul mate of Hollywood stars who are fast becoming “yoga” devotees. With the popularity of yoga, it’s unfortunate to find that its spiritual practice is somehow missing among those personalities. They are merely flocking to “yoga” to obtain svelte figures, sleek physiques, etc.

Various celebrities reportedly associated with yoga include Madonna, Jennifer Anniston, Naomi Campbell, Karen Allen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Charlize Theron, Ashley Judd, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Bridges, Shirley MacLaine, Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen, Michael Jackson, Tatum O’Neal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ali MacGraw, Sting, David Duchovny, etc. The list goes on.

But Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed argued that ‘yoga’ has now come to only mean in Hollywood and the West as ‘modern postural yoga’, while it actually is a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) unites with universal-soul (parmatman).

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that some sages had described yoga as the silencing of all mental transformations, which lead to the total realisation of the Supreme Self. Some had used yoga attempting to gain liberation by removing all sensory barriers. According to Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, who codified yoga after being founded by Yajanavalkya, yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

Rajan Zed also urged Hollywood celebrities to explore the spiritual dimension of yoga besides its physical benefits. He listed chief forms of yoga are karma-yoga, bhakti-yoga, jnana-yoga, mantra-yoga, laya-yoga, hatha-yoga, raja-yoga. Yoga is based on an eightfold path to direct the practitioner from awareness of the external world to a focus on the inner, which includes yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, darana, dhyana, and samadhi.

‘Raja-adhiraja-yoga’ (king of kings yoga) or ‘maha yoga’ is the highest form of yoga through which mind is free from anger, lust, fear, greed, jealousy, and melancholy… Yoga is one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, take a look at the rest of the five schools also, Rajan Zed suggested the celebrities and other yoga fans.

Prominent Hollywood screenwriter Charlie Kaufman reportedly once said in an interview that while doing yoga, everything was in the present tense.

Celebrity interest in yoga, which is referred as “a living fossil”, has definitely fuelled the hype resulting in its explosive growth. According to an estimate, about 15 million Americans now do yoga.



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