Modi to strengthen India's claim over yoga to next level in New York

Every June 21 since 2015, the photos of people in yoga asanas (postures) are splashed across all newspapers in India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in sitting a yogic asana (posture) occupying prominent space on the front pages of most newspapers. All these years, this scenario was taken granted. But tomorrow, something different is going to happen:

Prime Minister Modi will sit in yogic posture not in New Delhi, but at the nerve centre of global diplomacy — the United Nations' lawn in New York.

“The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations invites you to a celebration of the 9th annual International Yoga Day on 21 June 2023, from 8:00-9:00 AM EST (6 pm to 6.30 pm) at the North Lawn of UN Headquarters in New York," a message posted on the United Nations website said.

The spectacle of a large gathering of people, who include top diplomats, sitting in yoga asanas at the centre of bustling global business hub will have greater effect on the minds of people across the world, than the annual observation of the yoga day in New Delhi could boast of.

On the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 11, 2014, to declare June 21 of every year as the International Day of Yoga. India recommended June 21 for the Yoga Day because it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

What is yoga

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice which originated in ancient India. It is believed to embody the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. Yoga offers many health benefits, including reducing chronic pain, stabilising blood pressure and stress relief. Furthermore, it can improve strength, flexibility, breathing, balance, spine and mental health, and blood flow.

While there are 84 basic asanas through which one can elevate his consciousness, yoga proliferated across the world with several nomenclatures and brand names. There are some exercises that billed as yoga in the West, which make traditional yoga gurus seethe in anger.

Yoga Day

When the UN declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day, the Western media speculated that the move was aimed at reclaiming India's cultural legacy over yoga, which was fast becoming a fad among wealthy individuals in the United States and Europe.

In 2015, the United Kingdom's The Week stated that the government of India's purpose in holding International Days of Yoga was to have yoga recognized around the world as "India's cultural property", and cited India's then minister of yoga Shripad Yesso Naik comments that the Indian government was "trying to establish to the world that it (yoga) is ours."

Contrary of doubts expressed initially, Narendra Modi appears to have successfully convinced the world yoga is indeed an Indian practice. Now he is all set to take his efforts to the next level in New York, when the whole American media's focus would be on him as he is the country's state guest.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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