Thousands of Yoga enthusiasts from across the world on Monday took part in mass sessions and performed various asanas keeping in mind social distancing guidelines to celebrate the 7th International Day of Yoga amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Indians Missions across the world have marked #YogaDay with great enthusiasm. The Yoga sessions world over drew several people,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, tagging a tweet of Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
“The COVID 19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the consequences of poor global health. The social and economic consequences have been devastating. For many around the world, yoga was a lifeline during lockdown. It helped to maintain physical well being, while also managing the stress of uncertainty and isolation,” President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir said in his virtual address on the occasion.
He underlined that as “we take steps to recover from the pandemic, let Yoga inspire us to approach challenges holistically, to work together through the multilateral system so we recover better, stronger and greener.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous stress and anxiety for many worldwide, stemming from loss, isolation, economic insecurity or disruption to normal routines and work-life balance,” Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed said, adding that Yoga can help people cope with uncertainty and anxiety.
India’s Permanent Mission to the UN organised virtual commemoration to mark the 7th International Day of Yoga (IDY), with the theme ‘Yoga for Well-Being’.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said that this year’s commemoration of Yoga Day seeks to reaffirm the rejuvenating role of Yoga in promoting health and well being of the global community, which is presently coping with the pervasive effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The virtual format enabled Yoga practitioners from around the world, including from India, Brazil, Canada, Spain, Mexico, France and the US, to join the Yoga sessions that included the Surya Namaskar and other Yoga asanas.
This was the second year in a row that Yoga Day was commemorated in a virtual format due to the pandemic.
India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, on Sunday participated in the yoga session at the Indian House in Washington which was attended by embassy officials in-person, while a large number of people across the US joined the event virtually through Zoom and the embassy’s social media handles.
June 21, the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day, is celebrated as the International Day of Yoga worldwide after the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 2014 a proposal mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This year’s theme for the event is ‘Yoga for Wellness’.
All the five Consulates of India in the US – in New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco – are also holding various programmes to mark the IDY.
In New York, the Consulate partnered with Times Square Alliance to host celebrations at the iconic Times Square, attended by more than 3,000 people.
The IDY is commemorated with much enthusiasm and fanfare at Times Square every year. As the city opened up following the COVID-19 pandemic, people turned out in huge numbers for the day-long celebration that included yoga, meditation and exercise sessions by renowned Yoga practitioners.
The Indian community in New Jersey led the Yoga Day celebrations at the Liberty State Park. In Chicago, the Consulate commemorated IDY 2021 in Grant Park in partnership with Yoga organisations in the Midwest region, wherein there was enthusiastic participation in virtual and in-person modes.
Several events were also organised in Atlanta, Florida, Puerto Rico, Houston and other parts of America.
In Britain, a simultaneous Yoga and meditation session was organised across all parts of the country to mark Yoga Day on Monday.
The Indian High Commission in London said it also made arrangements to display informative Yoga videos on digital screens at iconic locations across the UK, including Leicester Square Screen and Birmingham Central and Edinburgh Southern Gateway, to celebrate the seventh IDY.
In China, the Indian Embassy in Beijing held a major Yoga event on Sunday, while local Yoga institutes organised major events in several cities, including Wuxi and Hangzhou, on Monday.
The IDY is usually celebrated with enthusiasm in China, where yoga is very popular, with numerous events being organised since its inception by the United Nations in 2014.
The Yogi Yoga institute, which has Yoga training centres in many parts of China, held its major event in Hangzhou on Monday, the head of the institute Mohan Bhandari told PTI.
Indian Consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou also held similar events.
Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri and Deputy Ambassador Dr. Acquino Vimal took part in the Yoga event held at the India House in Beijing.
Considering the popularity of Yoga, China has established a Yoga college in Yunnan Minzu University in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province, in collaboration with India.
In Islamabad, the Indian High Commission in Pakistan organised a special ceremony on Monday to celebrate the Yoga Day. The ceremony featuring Yoga enthusiasts was held at the premises of the High Commission located in the high security Diplomatic Enclave in the national capital.
In Nepal, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu organised a special programme to observe the Yoga Day.
A lecture-cum-demonstration of common yoga protocol was presented at the Swami Vivekanand Culture Centre and was broadcast live on its Facebook page. The event, with a voiceover in Nepali langauge, was also aired live on television to take the message of Yoga and its benefits to every home.
In Sri Lanka, over 7,000 people, including 500 Sri Lankan personnel from 150 defence establishments, across the country participated in a special Yoga session led by the Indian High Commission in Colombo, an official statement said.
The Indian High Commission also tweeted a picture of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa attending a Yoga session.
In Singapore, the Indian High Commission on Monday observed the Yoga Day, concluding nearly 190 online yoga sessions conducted over the week amid COVID-19 restrictions.
A special video ‘Yoga@75’ was premiered on social media platform Facebook by the High Commission to mark the day. The mission began its Yoga Day celebrations in Singapore on June 14.
Singapore’s Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim graced one of the Yoga sessions at the Nee Soon Community Centre.
In Saudi Arabia, a historic MoU was signed between the Saudi Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of AYUSH on Yoga Cooperation on the occasion of International Day of Yoga.
“The signing of this MoU is a major step towards further promotion of Yoga in Saudi Arabia, as it paves the way for the establishment of formal Yoga standards and courses in the Kingdom, with such a step being undertaken for the first time by any country in the Gulf region,” the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia tweeted.
Yoga events were also held in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Australia, Bhutan and several other countries to celebrate the occasion. (PTI)