International Yoga Day: From Great Wall of China to Burj Park, enthusiasts perform asanas

From The Great Wall of China to Britain's London Eye, yoga enthusiasts performed asanas at iconic landmarks as several events were held in various countries to mark the third International Yoga Day. With over 5,000 events lined up in India, almost 150 Indian consulates will also be marking the event across the world to propagate the ancient fitness regimen as a global phenomenon.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a crowd of over 45,000 people to perform yoga in Lucknow at a rain-drenched Ramabai Amedkar Sthal, enthusiasts across the world observed the day to celebrate the importance of yoga.

"There was a time when yoga was confined to sages meditating in the Himalayan caves. But now yoga is becoming a part of people's daily life not just in India but across the world," the Prime Minister said in his address to thousands.

"There are many countries which don't know our language, are not aware about Indian culture or traditions but they too are practising yoga. Much like it connects the mind with the soul, yoga is playing an important role in connecting the world," said Modi

In China, a large number of yoga enthusiasts participated in a colourful yoga event at The Great Wall of China on the eve of the International Yoga Day. Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh took part in the event and practiced the yoga postures for a while.

The event was a cultural milestone, marking the first time yoga has been performed atop the Great Wall by a joint Indian and Chinese group of yogis, the Embassy said in a statement.

Around 200 Chinese and Indian participants then carried out the Common Yoga Protocol, followed by a spectacular display of advanced yoga poses by 20 young Indian yoga ambassadors from the Morarji Desai Institute in India, who are specially visiting China for International Day of Yoga celebrations.

In the UK, yoga enthusiasts have been participating in mega yoga events this week at iconic tourist attractions such as the London Eye and Trafalgar Square to celebrate the third International Day of Yoga. The High Commission of India in London and India Tourism's UK division staged a yoga takeover of the Coca Cola London Eye, teaming up with UK-based yoga organisations to unite in a so-called 'Wheel of Yoga', on Sunday. The first-of-its-kind event was classified as "yoga for peace" and took place within 32 pods of the London Eye on the banks of the river Thames to celebrate the opening event of the International Day of Yoga, marked worldwide on 21 June. India's Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Dinesh Patnaik, said: "The ancient tradition of yoga with all its attendant physical, mental and spiritual benefits was not for an individual or a particular community, but the entire world."

 International Yoga Day: From Great Wall of China to Burj Park, enthusiasts perform asanas

Internatioanl Yoga Day celebrations in UK. Twitter/ @HCI_London

Participants, both new to yoga and with decades of practice between them, performed asanas and meditative breathing at the London Eye. In the US, a large number of people, including the Indian community, participated in special yoga sessions organised by the Indian Consulate here to commemorate the third International yoga Day.

In commemoration of the day, the United Nations headquarters has been lit up for the second year in a row with images of yoga postures.

The Permanent Mission of India to the UN will organise a 'Yoga Session with Yoga Masters' at the world body's headquarters led by Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, India and Swami Sivadasananda of Sivananda Yoga Retreat, Austria.

Chef de Cabinet of the UN Secretary general Maria Luiza Ribeiro and President of the General Assembly Ambassador Peter Thomson are special guests on the occasion.

A yoga event was also held in the island country of Seychelles with great enthusiasm on Tuesday at the iconic Palais des Sports indoor stadium in Victoria, Seychelles.

The event, which was jointly organised by the High Commission of India in Seychelles and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Government of Seychelles, was inaugurated by Idith Alexander, Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture in the presence of Minister of Health Jean Paul Adam.

International Yoga Day celebrated in Seychelles. Twitter/ @hci_seychelles

International Yoga Day celebrated in Seychelles. Twitter/ @hci_seychelles

Over 1,000 yoga enthusiasts, including cabinet ministers, senior bureaucrats, senior citizens and children participated in the celebrations.

The various activities that were held during the day included guided mass yoga performances using the Common Yoga Protocol. A Photo Exhibition on yoga was also held.

Thousands of people marked the event in UAE as well. The Khaleej Times reported that there were multiple venues across the UAE for the day. As the sun set down, participants trooped to the main venues in Dubai such as Burj Park, Zabeel Park and Burhani Complex in Al Nahda, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium and at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi. The events in Dubai were organised by the Indian Consulate General with support from several schools and yoga associations such as The Art of Living.

South Africa, too, marked the event with various events and group exercising sessions. Over 1,200 yoga enthusiasts in South Africa's Soweto township today got their first taste of yoga when they performed various asanas at an event on the eve of International Day of Yoga. The Consulate General of India in Johannesburg along with the volunteers of the Art of Living Foundation and yoga school trainers organised the event at a park in the township. The participants included hundreds of school children who got their first taste of yoga.

The Indian embassy in collaboration of Egyptian government has organised several events to celebrate the UN International Day of Yoga.

The tourism ministry has also planned several ways to promote yoga day in India and abroad. The ministry has made a 30-second radio spot to promote yoga on 17 All India Radio FM stations.

While a 60-second television commercial to popularise India as the land of yoga has been developed, a month-long TV campaign to create awareness about yoga will be launched on Doordarshan network on yoga Day on 21 June.

"Look at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in four-hour meetings, he does not doze off, sneeze or yawn. He concentrates throughout the meeting. This is because of yoga and his dedication towards it," said tourism minister Mahesh Sharma.

The UN declared 21 June as the International Day of Yoga in 2014 after Modi called for the day to be declared as a global celebration of yoga.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 21, 2017 12:42:10 IST