One of America's top Hindu scholars has attacked Gwyneth Paltrow for appearing to take credit for the yoga boom in a recent interview.
In a new chat with WSJ Magazine, the actress declared that yoga’s surge in popularity was in part down to her, prompting Twitter to light up with outrage.
"Forgive me if this comes out wrong, but I went to do a yoga class in L.A. recently and the 22-year-old girl behind the counter was like, 'Have you ever done yoga before?' And literally I turned to my friend, and I was like, 'You have this job because I've done yoga before'," Gwyneth boasted.
Her comment did not go down well among yoga fans, who took aim at Paltrow, calling her an "idiot" for staking a claim on thousands of years of Indian tradition.
"It was really Gwyneth Paltrow who wrote the Yoga Sutras THOUSANDS of years ago?" one Twitter user wrote. "Wow, and she Time travels!! What an idiot."
And now top Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has piled on, calling Paltrow "delusional" for taking credit for the rise in yoga.
"The facts are quite contradictory to her idiosyncratic belief," he tells WENN. "Traces of yoga go back to around 2,000 BCE to the Indus Valley civilization, and yoga was pioneered in the USA for a long time before even Paltrow was born... and she should note that humility was the main virtue of a true yogini, as yoga tends to relieve one from the perils of arrogance and pride."
Zed, who is the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, adds, "Yoga is a mental and physical discipline which unites the human soul with the universal soul. It was doing just fine without Paltrow’s help. Yoga directs the practitioner from awareness of the external world to a focus on the inner, while Paltrow was doing just the opposite. She should be aware that yoga is aimed at making the mind free from anger, lust, fear, greed, jealousy, and melancholy."
Zed also took aim at the high-priced yoga retreats advertised on the actress's Goop lifestyle website, adding, "Goop's 2017 Holiday Gift Guide promoted a Love Yoga Retreat for $2,400, while the typical range of single drop-in sessions at yoga studios and fitness centres around the nation is $8 to $23.
"It is highly inappropriate for a true yogini to push for mercantile greed through exorbitant products related to the ancient practices of yoga and meditation, whose techniques could be successfully mastered with little or no cost."
Zed also listed several celebrities who also practice yoga, but have never claimed to be responsible for the boom, naming Ashley Judd, Barbara Streisand, Cameron Diaz, Charlie Sheen, Charlize Theron, David Duchovny, Eva Longoria, and Halle Berry, among others.