Top-ranked Roman Catholic “Loyola Marymount University” (LMU), rooted in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions, is hosting Project “Om” yoga worldwide event on May 13, said to be “a mindful movement”. In Hinduism, “Om”, considered a mystical syllable containing the universe, is used to introduce and conclude religious work. Project “Om” is billed as the world’s largest yoga class of one million bodies. Bank of America is one of the sponsors. LMU also offers Master of Arts in Yoga Studies, said to be one of its kind in the world; which explores yoga’s relationship to religion and spirituality, immerses in yogic philosophy and teaches Sanskrit.
Hindus have welcomed Catholic LMU for promoting yoga. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged all the US universities and colleges to introduce multi-beneficial yoga in the lives of their student communities. 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 “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.
LMU, founded in 1911 and headquartered in Los Angeles (California), claims to be “institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism and takes its fundamental inspiration from the combined heritage of the Jesuits, the Marymount Sisters, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange”. Paul S. Viviano, Timothy Law Snyder and Christopher Key Chapple are Trustees Chair, President and Yoga Studies Director respectively of LMU.