22 Aug : Yoga seems to be becoming a rage in Finland.Various yoga centers/s tudios have reportedly popped up in cities across Finland and besides regular yoga classes; retreats, workshops, and even teacher training courses are held in Finland.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which claims over 80 per cent of Finns as its members, states on its website: “Courses in yoga are offered in every part of the country, and it is practised by tens of thousands. The central organization for yoga practitioners has its own training institute in the countryside, in which yoga leaders are trained and special yoga courses are given…”
In view of its popularity among the Finns, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has urged the Government of Finland to open a national yoga academy for its preservation, research and promotion, with centers in all major cities of Finland, and also introduce yoga in public schools.
A unique Midnight Sun Ashtanga Ecological Yoga Retreat is organized in Finland at an isolated island of Kadermo where the silence is only broken by a “woodpecker hacking away at a pine tree”. Here “toilets are ecological” as there is no running water and there is little electricity on the island. Typical day starts at seven am with yoga-asnas and ends in meditation and pranayama at ten pm.
Although Ashtanga appears to be the most popular form of yoga in Finland, but other forms of yoga are also practiced, including Ananda Marga yoga, Sahaja yoga, Natha yoga, etc. Various weekend and weekly retreats and workshops are also held, including a retreat at Houtskar island. There was even a 5-day certified “Laughter Yoga Teacher Training”. Sahaja yoga reportedly has even been tried in jail also.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, asked yoga fascinated Finns to explore the spiritual dimension of yoga also, because actually yoga was a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman).
According to Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, who codified yoga after being founded by Yajanavalkya, yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical. Yoga is one of the six schools of orthodox Hindu philosophy, take a look at the rest of the five schools also, Rajan Zed suggests the Finnish yoga fans.