More than 200 persons, including Liberians and Indians, gathered at the Shri Gurudwara Sahib, the Indian worship center at Coconut Plantation, to commemorate the first ever International Day of Yoga.
Though the day fell on Sunday, June 21, still Liberians, who are predominantly Christians and Muslims, with pomp and pageantry, joined the Indians and their Consulate General, Mr. U.S. Sachdeva, to observe the hour-long program.
Notably no Liberian government official was present “because of very short notice of preparation for the day’s celebration,” a senior Liberian staff of the Indian Consulate told our Health Correspondent, who also participated in the celebration.
Among several Indian dignitaries who attended the program were executives of the Association of the Indian Community in Liberia, the Contingent commander of the Indian Female Formed Police Unit (IFPU) of UNMIL, Madhu Bala, along with senior officers, and priests from Gurudwara Sahib and Geeta Ashram. Other foreign nationals residing in Liberia were also in attendance.
IFPU Commander Bala was the umpire of the program. In her brief remarks, she spoke of the usefulness of Yoga as a remedy to all kinds of medical conditions, including cardiac problems, diabetes, hypertension and stress as well as a way of strengthening the body’s resistance capacity to diseases.
She, along with trained Yoga instructors, led participants through breathtaking Yoga exercises, bending over and stretching.
The most exhilarating (exciting) part of the program was when the instructors came to give Yoga lessons. As they demonstrated their Yoga skills and movements, participants, including Indians themselves, were spell-bound and watched in total awe, rendering continuous applause.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfillment, harmony between man and nature, and a holistic approach to health and well-being,” Consul General Sachdeva told the Daily Observer last Thursday.
The science of Yoga has its origin thousands of years ago, long before the first religion and belief systems were born. Yoga science was known to have first come from the banks of the lake Kantisarowar in the Himalayas thousands of years ago, and carried at different times to different parts of the world, including Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South America. However, it was in India that the Yogic System found its fullest expression – crafting a culture around core Yogic way of life, according to information available to the Daily Observer.
This seemingly intractable linkage of Yoga to India’s history, both ancient and modern, as well as Yoga’s substantial beneficial global outreach, in terms of both its physical and spiritual values, must have motivated the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, 2014, to urge the world community to adopt an International Day of Yoga, sources said.
On December 11, 2014, the 193-member UN General Assembly (UNGA) approved the proposal by consensus with a record 177 co-sponsoring countries. They adopted a resolution to establish 21st June as International Day of Yoga.
In its resolution declaring 21st June each year International Day of Yoga, the UNGA recognize that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and encourages the wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing Yoga for the health of the world population. Yoga also brings harmony in all walks of life and thus, is known for disease prevention, health promotion and management of many lifestyle-related disorders.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Indian government officials said 35,000 people attended the 35-minute yoga session in New Delhi. It was aimed at setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest yoga class at a single venue.
The day was also being celebrated around the world and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj says “tens of millions” were expected to do yoga yesterday.
Of the 193 UN member countries, celebrations were set to be held in 192 countries, the exception being Yemen, because of the conflict there. Yoga events were being held in 251 cities in six continents. 30,000 people also reportedly performed yoga in Times Square, New York City.