Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sent a special message complimenting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership on International Day of Yoga on June 21 and commending his vision for supporting global peace and well-being.
Indeed as Turnbull puts it, the ancient practice of yoga is one of India’s gifts to the world and acknowledges its aim to develop resilience, thoughtfulness, respect and harmony, towards each other and the world.
High Commissioner of India to Australia Navdeep Suri read out Turnbull’s message at a special programme organized at the historic Old Parliament building in Canberra on Sunday, June 19 and marked the start of a week-long celebration of Yoga in all major cities of Australia.
Over 250 Australians and members of the Australian Indian community braved the winter chill to assemble at the Old Parliament building for a Mass Yoga Practice conducted by Yoga Australia teachers from the Australian Capital Territory. Light refreshments were served after the completion of the first session. This was followed by interactive sessions on Yoga namely, a session on Posture (Asana) Techniques by Yoga Australia, on Breathing techniques (Pranayama) by the Art of Living Foundation and on Meditation by the Brahma Kumaris.
Participants at the event represented a wide cross section including Ms. Gai Brodtmann MP, Federal Member for Canberra, senior government officials, diplomats, professionals, students, yoga enthusiasts from various schools as well as members of the Indian community in Canberra.
Welcoming the large and diverse group of participants, Suri said, “Your presence here on this cold Sunday morning is testimony to the growing popularity and acceptance of Yoga and its effectiveness in addressing a broad range of 21st century ailments ranging from hypertension and diabetes to stress and anxiety. By participating in the 2nd International Day of Yoga, we have all become contributors to an unprecedented global effort to promote Yoga beyond its ancient origins in India and to transform it into a universal gift that can benefit humanity at large.”
In Melbourne too, various yoga workshops were held in different areas. A festive celebration was held by the Art of Living Foundation at Clayton on June 19. The three-hour ‘Yoga for Happiness’ event was attended by more than 120 participants. Senior Art of Living member and Yoga teacher from Melbourne Chris Dale, lead the participants into an easy and relaxing state through yoga postures and yogic breathing techniques were also demonstrated by Yoga teacher Rohit Singla.
Following the yoga session was a unique recorded guided meditation by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Q & A session with Australia Yoga Teacher Coordinator Angela Hass. Closing the event were soothing Sanskrit tunes lead by teachers Slava and Sveta Sapunar on vocal and guitar, Board Member Jay Jayashankar and Melbourne State Coordinator Avinash Rain on percussions.
Veteran yoga teacher Rajendra Yenkannamoole also led the celebration on June 19 at Keysborough. The theme for this year’s conference was Yoga for Health – Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual. The day saw many events such as 108 Sun Salutations, Yoga for and by kids, Yoga and Music, Asanas, Pranayama and meditation. Yoga practitioners, yoga teachers, doctors and health care professionals from all over Australia and India participated in the event.
Pictures on websites of Indian missions across the world showed that people gathered in large numbers to be part of the international event.
Also, the iconic United Nations (UN) building in New York displayed different Yoga postures.
The Indian High Commission in Britain held a session at Potters Fields Park, Tower Bridge in London.
Yoga sessions were also held by Indian missions in China and Pakistan to prepare Yoga enthusiasts for the event. (TIW & Agencies)