This is not an Onion article. Keep that in mind as you read. A free yoga class at the University of Ottawa has been banned by student leaders.
Jennifer Scharf, the yoga teacher, had been offering the class since 2008 reports the Ottawa Sun. She says she was shocked and saddened when she heard the news.
Staff at the Centre for Students with Disabilities said in an email that “while yoga is a really great idea and accessible and great for students ... there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice... Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced.”
It adds that the cultures that yoga is taken from, “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy ... we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practising yoga.”
The Centre, which is operated by the university's Student Federation had even asked Scharf to teach the class years ago – back when the world wasn't crazy, we guess.
Despite being a yoga teacher, Scharf made a valid point. “People are just looking for a reason to be offended by anything they can find,” she said.
“There's a real divide between reasonable people and those people just looking to jump on a bandwagon. And unfortunately, it ends up with good people getting punished for doing good things,” she explained.
Student federation president Romeo Ahimakin said the yoga program was not canceled because of a complaint. Rather, the program was suspended while students were consulted “to make it better, more accessible and more inclusive to certain groups of people that feel left out in yoga-like spaces. ... We are trying to have those sessions done in a way in which students are aware of where the spiritual and cultural aspects come from, so that these sessions are done in a respectful manner.”
The day yoga needs a safe space is the day parody meets reality. That day has come.
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