Yoga transcended race, religion, cultural barriers – India’s diplomat

Ahead of Monday’s observation of International Yoga Day, the High Commission of India in Guyana celebrated the event for the 7th consecutive year with a simple ceremony.
The High Commission has also held curtain-raiser events for this year’s Yoga Day at Kaieteur Falls, Iwokrama and at the Guyana Defence Force’s Camp Ayanganna.
International Yoga Day is being observed this year under the theme: “Yoga for Wellness” and aptly titled “Be with Yoga, be at Home.”
Saturday’s event, which was held in association with the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC) and Bank of Baroda (Guyana) Inc at the International Academy of the Americas Inc, was attended by the Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd, former President of Guyana Donald Ramotar and many other Guyanese dignitaries as well as members of the diplomatic corps and yoga practitioners.
In his remarks, India’s High Commissioner, Dr KJ Srinivasa, explained that yoga is a system of holistic living with its roots in the ancient Indian tradition and culture. He said yoga techniques are now being widely used in modern days of meeting the changing healthcare needs of mankind.
“Yoga has indeed transcended the barriers of race, religion and culture, and today has indeed become a global movement. Yoga is essentially a mix of mental and physical discipline based on extremely subtle signs which focus on bringing harmony between the mind, soul and body. Yoga believes in the age-old adage of a healthy mind and a healthy body,” Dr Srinivasa stated.
According to the Indian High Commissioner, in these testing times of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, millions across the world have sought benefits from yoga and Ayurveda, which is a 100-year-old practice of the science of well-being, herbs and medicines.
“In many countries, practicing yoga has helped people to find solace from the isolation forced upon them due to the COVID-19 restrictions and has helped them deal with mental illnesses like depression while keeping them physically fit… It is indeed both an art and sign of healthy living and yoga is of course recognised as unique to the world from India. It is a fact that in these testing times of the COVID-19 pandemic millions across the world has sought, solace and has benefited from yoga,” the Indian diplomat noted.
Dr Srinivasa further urged the attendees to start practising yoga as it brings a lot of health benefits in terms of relieving stress, fatigue, depression and other sicknesses.
Meanwhile, the dignitaries in their messages emphasised the importance of yoga and its relevance in the present testing times of COVID-19 pandemic.
Pre-recorded messages from Prime Minister Mark Phillips, renowned cricketers of West Indies – Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Richie Richardson, were also played during the event.
This year, owing to restrictions related to COVID-19 in place, only a few guests were invited to participate in the event which was live-streamed on the social media accounts of the High Commission and SVCC and telecast live on television channels of Guyana.
Following the formal ceremony, the attendees performed several yoga techniques. Yoga instructor Agnela Patil explained that the techniques used in sessions were mostly to relieve constipation, stress and help with blood circulation.
However, she opted not to use a lot of breathing techniques because of the face masks worn by practitioners, who would have found it difficult to breathe.
The Government of India has been celebrating the International Day of Yoga across the world on June 21 every year since 2015.
In December 2014, India’s proposal under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was adopted as a United Nations General Assembly resolution sponsored by 177 member nations out of the total 193 members of the UNGA, to unanimously proclaim June 21, the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, as the International Day of Yoga.