Kerala's Communist government, which is seeking to create and promote their “own brand” of “secular Yoga” and dissociate it from “spirituality” had a lesson or two to learn from a Christian Bishop. 

Kollam Bishop Stanely Roman gave a detailed explanation of how the ancient practice is not just about the body. Interestingly, the Bishop put forth his argument at the same function which was also attended by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

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Inaugurating the yoga event, Vijayan urged people to dissociate yoga from spirituality and take the ancient practice more as a health option. The CM added that there is an attempt to spread misinformation about Yoga by linking it with spirituality. Yoga should not be linked to any religion. It is an exercise that must be practiced for the goodness of mental and physical health and benefit everyone. The government will consider including Yoga in school syllabus, Vijayan said.

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The Kollam Bishop, who spoke after Vijayan, informed the audience said that Yoga has the power to transport us from the material to the spiritual world. Yoga is connected to spirituality because of its ability to take the mind beyond the material world, Stanely said. It is a meditation that prepares the mind for it with concentration. You need not be a believer for that. Good thoughts are enough. But when you prepare mind in that manner, it opens up a path to the spiritual world, the Bishop explained. Yoga is included in the syllabus for Christian seminary students as it aids students to cultivate good thoughts and focus their mind, he added.

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The function was organised yesterday by Indian Martial Arts and Yoga Study Centre, an organisation associated with the ruling CPM. More than 1000 enthusiasts participated in the yoga session. Surya Namaskar and chanting of “Om” was removed to make the event more secular.


The first public performance of CPM's brand of Yoga was held on 4 January 2016 in the CPM stronghold of Kannur which was inaugurated by Sri M. The party had said that it was encouraging its volunteers to practice yoga to lead a healthy life.

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