United Nations, Jun 21: “Yoga can help the world in these troubled times by inspiring the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle to fight climate change and by promoting tolerance and peace”, said Deputy UN Secretary-General Amina Mohammed while commemorating the 5th International Day of Yoga.
Indian Mission of the United Nations organized a panel discussion on the theme of “Yoga for Climate Action” in UN Headquarters. Which is moderated by Deputy representative, Nagaraj Naidu.
This discussion featured with a lifestyle coach and motivational speaker Gaur Gopal Das, Acharya for International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Srinivasan, Yoga teacher, author and lecturer Eddie Stern, author, speaker, and philosopher Simon Haas and Kusumita Pedersen, Professor of Religious Studies at St Francis College, Brooklyn.
While addressing the celebration of yoga day, Amina Mohammed said, “The essence of yoga is a balance not only within us but also in our relationship with humanity, with the world. As such, yoga can promote solidarity, social integration, tolerance, justice, and peace”.
The theme of the celebration was Yoga and Climate Action, and Mohammed said that yoga “has a valuable contribution in addressing climate change, the defining issue of our time, by inspiring us to shift away from the unsustainable practices towards inclusive green growth, conscious consumption, and much more sustainable lifestyles”.
On this occasion, PM Modi addressed the celebration through video, he said, “the global significance of yoga is that it unites the body, mind, and soul, it can also unite the world”.
The celebration was filled with symbolism relevant to the issues of the day. In a show of nature's challenge, week-long rains continuing into the day, turned the UN lawns soggy, forcing the event indoors into the General Assembly chamber, And the hall that often echoes with words of disharmony and confrontation instead reverberated with chants of “Om, Om Shanti” led by the yoga gurus.
In a sign of human ingenuity meeting nature’s adversities, the yoga masters quickly changed the planned mass outdoor yoga exercises into a performance of “office yoga” for closed in spaces by the diplomats, officials and yoga enthusiasts thronging the Assembly chamber.
On this electrified situation, Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative said, “the International Yoga day born in that very hall through a resolution adopted by the Assembly in 2014”.
Further, He said, “There is growing discourse among the global community that yoga can be one of the tools in our collective quest for promoting sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature”.
Syed Akbaruddin also expressed, “Yoga drives the quest for balance and this “provides us with a framework for managing our needs and desires, When applied to communities and societies, yoga offers a toolkit for embracing lifestyles that are sustainable, lifestyles that appeal to the human yearning for harmony”.
Swami Paramananda of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre and Kevin Tobar from the Bhakti Centre led chants and yoga exercises adapted for practice in confined spaces like offices.
Since Wednesday, a light show of yoga asanas is being projected on the north face of the iconic, 39-story UN building at night.