Washington/Beijing, June 21: Yoga enthusiasts from across the globe on Sunday bent and stretched to perform various asanas at several events, with some of them joining digital projection and live online yoga sessions due to the coronavirus pandemic, to mark the 6th International Day of Yoga.
Dressed in T-shirts and trousers, people, some of them wearing face masks, stretched themselves in various postures at yoga events held in the US, China, the UK, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and several other countries to celebrate the occasion.
In Washington, Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu joined embassy officials and several Hollywood stars to celebrate Yoga Day, themed “Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family” this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are not able to celebrate with a larger number of yoga enthusiasts due to the prevailing situation. Thanks to the technology, we are connected with thousands of people online from across the US,” Sandhu said.
Yoga is a unifying force, true to its literal meaning. People all around the world, transcending nationalities and cultures, have recognized the immense benefits of Yoga. They have made it a part of their everyday lives, he said.
In China, the Yoga Day was a low-key affair owing to the coronavirus crisis and the military standoff at the Line of Actual Control.
This year, the main event was held at the India House in Beijing where Indian Ambassador Vikram Misri led the celebration, with the participation of Indian, foreign diplomats and their families.
Misri said this year’s International Yoga Day was full of challenges .
Even with the challenges we faced, we had thought of an event slightly at a larger scale but with the recent outbreak of coronavirus once again in Beijing, we have to scale down our plans to make it a small event, he said.
Nevertheless, when the pictures of this goes home there will be a small surprise for many of our friends in India who see that we actually managed to come out and hold the IYD outdoors not simply with our families but also friends who are also our extended family, Misri added.
In these times the value of yoga is much more than ever. The stresses and strains that are upon us in the era of COVID-19 can perhaps be addressed very well by yogic technique, he said.
In Britain, a digital projection and a series of webinars and live online yoga sessions marked the Yoga Day on Sunday.
The Indian High Commission in London organised a digital projection reflecting the ancient Indian practice and its many benefits at the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in east London.
It was preceded by an online webinar titled Ghar Ghar Se Yoga coordinated by the Nehru Centre in London, in light of the social distancing norms in place that prevent a congregational aspect of the yoga sessions.
Yoga is an invaluable ancient Indian practice with numerous benefits to both physical and mental health, said P N Ranjit Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
“Given the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic including restrictions on the movement of people and a slowdown in economic activity, the benefits offered by Yoga have become especially important for physical and mental wellbeing. Of particular importance are its proven benefits on general health and immunity enhancement, along with its globally accepted role as a stress buster, he said.
Indian Ambassador to Turkey Sanjay Panda tweeted a video of himself and his wife Minati Panda performing different yoga asanas within the Indian Embassy compound.
“Pandas fight Pandemic with #Yoga!!! Celebrating #YogaDay Yoga for health; Yoga at home while on quarantine at India House in Ankara #MyLifeMyYoga,” he tweeted.
In Pakistan, the members of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad practised yoga asanas in the premises of its sprawling building located in the capital city.
“The members of the High Commission of India in Pakistan enthusiastically participated in the #Internationalyogaday2020 celebrations. #YogaAtHome and #YogawithFamily for a healthy body and a sound mind! it said in a tweet.
In Sri Lanka, India’s High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of Sri Lanka Army Lt Gen Shavendra Silva and other dignitaries participated in the Yoga Day event held at SriLanka Army Headquarters in Colombo.
“Marking this International Day of Yoga with social distancing & health protocols! The High Commission organised a special yoga session for SL officers & soldiers in collaboration with #SriLanka Army. Armed forces personnel 4m Panagoda & Trincomalee joined the session online #YogaDay,” the mission said in a tweet.
In Kabul, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar emphasised on the importance of practicing yoga for better living and realising the unity of human beings with the Nature which sustains all the lives on this planet.
The Indian mission in Kabul tweeted mask-wearing people performing yoga at the Embassy on the theme Yoga at Home . The in-house event was telecast online for others to do the yoga from their homes.
The Yoga Day was also celebrated in Bangladesh, where a 7-minute online session on Yoga was done so that people can practice it from home, amid the coronavirus crisis in the country.
June 21, the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day, is celebrated as the International Yoga Day worldwide after the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 2014 a proposal mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)