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University Of Ottawa's Free Yoga Class Scrapped, Internet Criticism Ensues

The class has been temporarily suspended.

Student leaders at University of Ottawa have put a free yoga class on hold over "cultural issues," and some people are not having any of it.

Jen Scharf has been teaching the class for the last seven years for the university's Centre For Students With Disabilities, which is run by the students' association.

She said when she checked back with the centre in September, she was told the class was being scrapped because some students and volunteers were uncomfortable with the "cultural issues" involved, according to CBC News.

"I guess it was this cultural appropriation issue because yoga originally comes from India," she told CBC News.

She told the Washington Post the class was a basic introduction to yoga.

“I would never want anyone to think I was making some sort of spiritual claim other than the pure joy of being human that belongs to everyone free of religion,” she said.

Scharf offered to rebrand the program as "mindful stretching," but the idea was rejected because a suitable French translation could not be found, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

The centre defended its stance on Facebook, and said the yoga program was not cancelled, but temporarily suspended.

Notice to all CSD users (un message en francais suivra):As a responsible students union we have to ensure that we are...

Posted by Centre for Students w Disabilities/Centre d étudiants ayant une incapacité on Sunday, November 22, 2015

New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo tweeted the Ottawa Sun's story on Saturday, which prompted a flurry of replies.

Some tweeted that yoga is derived from British exercises.

Some questioned whether practicing yoga was appropriation or participation.

And some just didn't like the decision at all.

The university tweeted Monday that the school still offers other free yoga classes on campus.

What do you think? Is yoga cultural appropriation or participation? Let us know in the comments.

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