An exotic “yoga with cows” session at a Lancashire dairy in the United Kingdom has triggered a controversy after it was met with objection from a section of people from the Hindu community for allegedly offending Hinduism and “trivialising” its core concepts.
Lancashire Farm Dairies held a session of six people at a farm in Leyland where the practised UK’s first cow yoga class, the HuffPost UK reported. It was conducted as a way of encouraging people to resume physical activities amid the coronavirus lockdown. The concept of practising yoga with animals is believed to be helpful for reducing stress levels.
However, soon the session was slammed by Hindu cleric Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, in Nevada. Zen hit out at the event and its organisers for “trivialising two serious concepts of Hinduism: cows, (considered sacred in Hinduism) and the ancient discipline of yoga.”
The cleric shot a letter to the dairy objecting to the classes and urged for an immediate stop “before they became a trendy fad with herds of people flocking to dairy farms to do yoga alongside cows, with many visualising it as an Instagram opportunity”.
“The cow is the seat of many deities and is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism. They should not be used as a prop for human entertainment. Cows were inappropriately used in such events, causing unnecessary disturbance to cows and putting them in stressful situations. Cows should be left well alone and accorded the respect they deserve,” Zed told HuffPost UK.
In his letter, he further accused the team of participants of “diluting the profound, sacred and ancient discipline of yoga” and that “unpredictable cows could be a distraction in a path of self-discovery that drew the yogi inwards.”
Zed has urged the Lancashire Farm Dairies to rethink, revisit and reevaluate its yoga classes with cows. “We suggest that companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they have an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products, organising events or launching advertising.”
Meanwhile, in a rejoinder, Jack Morrison, brand manager at Lancashire Farm Dairies, tendered an apology for “any offense caused”. Morrison said, “We can only apologise if the recent fitness activity has caused offence….