LONDON: Over 10,000 people from all walks of life today participated in various yoga and meditation sessions near the iconic Tower Bridge here to mark the International Day of Yoga.
The day-long event at Potters Fields Park was conducted by the High Commission of India and the Government of India Tourist Office in London in collaboration with 14 British yoga institutions.
“It is by now acknowledged worldwide that Yoga has the advantage of being able to provide a holistic approach to health and well being, and is a perfect way towards harmony between man and nature,” said Navtej Sarna, High Commissioner of India to the UK while inaugurating the event.
“It is important, however, that Yoga is practised correctly and in a disciplined manner to tap into its full potential. Today, we have practitioners of the various forms of Yoga in almost every country of the world. In this event today, here at Potters Park, I welcome our partners to demonstrate by their example, Yoga in its correct form,” Mr Sarna said.
Special messages for the occasion from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj were screened at the event.
Indian-origin minister in the UK Cabinet Priti Patel, who is also British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion, sent a message congratulating the Indian High Commission.
“I must emphasise, however, that the International Day of Yoga on 21 June is just a day to remind the world of India’s gift of yoga to the world, but it is for each individual to benefit from the practice of Yoga throughout the year, indeed throughout their lives,” Mr Sarna said.
Lord Ranbir Singh Suri and Bob Blackman MP also attended the event and recognised PM Modi’s initiative of bringing yoga to the world stage as never before.
The organisations who came together for this year’s event included British Wheel of Yoga, Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust, The Art of Living Foundation, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Brahma Kumaris, Isha Foundation, Datta Sahaj Yoga Mission UK, Heartfulness, Coolherbals, Chi Kri, The World Yoga Festival, Special Yoga Foundation and SKY Trust UK.
Two other key events are also planned – yoga aboard a barge that will float down the Thames tomorrow morning and another on the 73rd floor of The Shard, the UK’s tallest building on Tuesday.
The resolution for International Yoga Day was proposed to the General Assembly of the United Nations by PM Modi last year.
The initiative found unprecedented support and was adopted by 177 member states without a vote in record time to declare June 21 as International Day of Yoga.