Hindus have welcomed West Virginia University (WVU), a public research-intensive university in Morgantown, for offering free yoga and meditation classes to reduce the increasing stress experienced by students; and are urging all US universities/colleges to offer such free yoga-meditation programs.
“Yoga and meditation have been proven to reduce stress levels, help with academic performance, and promote overall emotional and physical well-being”, the WVU announcement says. Classes being offered include Body Flow, Guided Meditation, Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa Flow. The University will also provide yoga mats, meditation cushions, and chairs at no charge.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, termed it as a step in the positive direction to make yoga and meditation available free of cost for students at such a renowned institution.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.
Founded in 1867, WVU offers 340+ majors and has been ranked “among the top 1.5% of universities in the world”. Its students come from 107 countries and all 50 US states. E. Gordon Gee and William D. Wilmoth are the President and Board Chairman respectively. Shannon Foster is Interim Director of WELLWVU, whose mission includes “to foster the complete well being of our students”.