INDIAN Ambassador to the Philippines Shri Lalduhthlana Ralte is leading the call for Filipinos to take on a healthier lifestyle by engaging in yoga. At a press conference, the envoy personally invited the public to come to the SMX Convention Center in SM Aura on June 21 to join the first ever International Day of Yoga and discover for themselves the benefits of the centuries-old practice.
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual exercise that aims to “unite” the body and mind. The word comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj” which means “to join” or “to unite.”
Yoga originated in India though the specific date of its invention is unrecorded. Earliest documentations of the practice can be traced back to 5,000 years but some researchers believe it has been around longer, even up to 10,000 years ago.
June 21 was officially declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations in December 11, 2014 fol-lowing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal. Amazingly, the proposal gathered 175 sponsor countries, which is a record-breaking number for any UN General Assembly resolution.
According to Ambassador Ralte, Modi chose the designated date because it coincides with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, which has a symbolic meaning in different parts of the world.
The Indian Embassy has partnered with Asia Society Philippine Foundation, digital transformation specialist Tech Mahindra, and yoga centers Iyengar Yoga, Brahma Kumaris, Urban Ashram Manila, and the Art of Living foundation to organize the celebration of International Yoga Day in the Phil-ippines. Together, these groups have come up with a free-admission program comprised of dif-ferent yoga practices from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 21.
Besides being a popular method of exercise, yoga enthusiasts who joined Ambassador Ralte at the press confer-ence reiterated that more than test of flexibility, yoga is a “way of life.” Besides uniting the body, mind and spir-it, it also aims to unite one’s self with the environment.
The ambassador appropriately discussed how adapting the ways of yoga opens environmental consciousness, leading to a desire towards a more sustainable nature besides having a healthy body.
Moreover, he cited the health and wellness benefits of yoga, some of which include a stronger spine from proper posture and detoxification. A ccording to the ambassador, these come from over 200 different styles of doing yo-ga.
“I myself . . . practice none of them,” he confessed, eliciting laughter from the room. “But I plan on changing that very soon,” he quickly promised.
True enough, Ambassador Ralte informed the press that he will join the June 21 program of activities, ensuring yoga first-timers like himself that they will all feel welcome at the daylong celebration. He said he hopes to see a large number of attendees who work hard day in and day out because yoga is sure to help them cope in stress-filled environments.
Noting that June 21 coincides with Father’s Day, the organizers of the event announced they will hold yoga clas-ses for entire families so wives and kids can bring daddies along to SMX Aura.
Among the sessions available are Introduction to Yoga, Yoga Fundamentals, Raja Yoga Meditation, and Techniques to Settle the Mind.
For more information, log on to www.idayofyoga.org powered by Tech Mahindra.