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Youth, various PHL sectors celebrate International Yoga Day.

THE Embassy of India in the Philippines, in partnership with the National Youth Commission (NYC), led the local celebrations of the fourth International Day of Yoga (IDY) on June 17 at the Ayala Malls-South Park in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

The event attracted more than 600 participants, some of whom came from the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP), youth volunteers, yogis from different yoga studios, as well as walk-ins from the mall.

As it tapped the energy of the local youth sector, the embassy recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with the NYC for its involvement in the IDY celebrations.

Similar gatherings were also organized in different cities of the country, such as in Davao and Baguio.

As a run-up to the main event, several yoga workshops were held in collaboration with universities, village associations and various companies throughout Metro Manila.

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old tradition from India that combines physical, mental and spiritual pursuits to achieve harmony of the body and mind. On December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 21 as a day for the international community to celebrate the practice of yoga.

The declaration came at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the assembly on September 27, 2014, where he stated: 'Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfillment, harmony between man and nature [as well as] a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise, but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.'

India's embassy in Manila stated that yoga is actually more than just stretching the body and sweating out the toxins; it also helps calm the mind, as well as improves posture and breathing.

Envoy's acknowledgment

AMBASSADOR of India to the Philippines Jaideep Mazumdar thanked the NYC, the PNP and the Department of Health for their valuable contributions to popularize yoga that serves as a preventive health-care system as it reduces the possibility and onset of lifestyle diseases.

He mentioned that the embassy has a yoga teacher whose mandate is to promote yoga by giving free lessons, and urged the large crowd to take advantage of the free yoga program.

The IDY 2018 event featured yoga teachers from India along with experts from various local yoga studios like Aquanimous, Art of Living, Sacred Sound, and Brahmakumaris, among others. Basic yoga postures were taught which, according to instructors, can bring about positive physical and mental benefits through regular practice. Wearing loose-fitting clothes, participants unrolled their mats and tried the different yoga postures, or asanas, during the sessions.

It also included various sessions of different types of yoga, namely Hatha yoga, Kirtan yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Raj yoga and Kundalini yoga, aside from the breathing and meditation sessions for senior citizens. The event was open to all and admission was free.

Taguig City's Mayor Maria Laarni L. Cayetano also enthusiastically supported the IDY 2018 celebrations by holding a yoga event at the Taguig satellite office inside the Bonifacio Global City on June 16. She joined members of the local diplomatic community and city officials in a 40-minute yoga session comprised of exercises and meditation sessions.

As a 'curtain-raiser' for the IDY 2018 event, the embassy and the NYC hosted a photo competition that drew a good response from yoga enthusiasts in the Philippines. Winners of the contest were announced during the IDY event.

Flourishing in PHL

MAZUMDAR remains optimistic that the practice of yoga will further flourish as the Philippines and India have a joint working group on health and medicine focused on further promoting the practice among Filipinos.

'By nature, Filipinos are very try or experience new things. [They] have really taken up yoga in a big way as I can see, and it can only grow from here,' the Indian ambassador averred.

'In April yoga and other forms of nontraditional health [care] were discussed by the DoH and India, and [we explored the different ways my country] can help the Philippines in this respect,' he added.

The Republic of Palau, which is concurrently accredited to the Embassy of India in Manila, also celebrated IDY 2018 which was graced by its president, Tommy E. Remengesau Jr.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jun 27, 2018
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