Yoga Class Cancelled Due to Cultural Oppression

Justin Holcomb
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Posted: Nov 23, 2015 4:15 PM
Yoga Class Cancelled Due to Cultural Oppression

Sorry to say this to all the yoga fans out there, but you too may fall victim to the political correctness police.

Jennifer Scharf who teaches a free yoga class to students with disabilities at the University of Ottawa in Ontario found out the hard way that even yoga must cease because people from a long time ago may be offended by people so far away.

Scharf received this e-mail informing her that there would no longer be a yoga class on campus:

“I have unfortunate news, apparently our centre has chosen not to do yoga for programming this year. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns in regards to this and I am welcome to explain. Thank you so much for volunteering to do yoga over the past couple years. It has truly been wonderful and I hope to stay in touch in the future.”

Scharf responded by asking, “that’s disappointing news for sure, is there someone I can speak to about this… do you know why the decision was made? I don’t mind doing it for free so if money is a concern, that’s no problem.”

The representative responded by saying, ‘“I think that our centre agreed … that while yoga is a really great idea, accessible and great for students, that there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice. I have heard from a couple students and volunteers that feel uncomfortable with how we are doing yoga while we claim to be inclusive at the same time. Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures (which are often sacred spiritual practices) they are being taken from. Many of these cultures are cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy, and we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves and while practicing yoga. It is not something that is easy to explain. It is a sensitive topic for some people that use our Centre and I would just like to respect that for the moment.”

After a tough battle and standing up to the political correctness police, the University of Ottowa posted this on Twitter today:

Free yoga classes are still offered on campus by #uOttawa https://t.co/eQi8sjBDqT

— uOttawa (@uOttawa) November 23, 2015