International Day of Yoga celebrated in New York

The 8th  International Day of Yoga (IDY) was celebrated by the Consulate General of India in New York at the iconic Times Square, the cross-roads of the World, today. This year the Yoga celebrations were special, for they formed part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – 75 years of India’s Independence. In his remarks on the occasion, Consul General iterated the growing popularity of yoga which is as much about physical health as it is about spiritual wellbeing and living in harmony with nature. Popular Spiritual Guru, Swami Avdheshanand Ji graced the occasion as Guest of Honour. In keeping with this year’s theme, Yoga for Humanity, he spoke of yoga’s contribution in promoting health, peace and harmony in the world. The lead Yoga session was conducted by renowned Yoga expert Ms. Ruchika Lal of the Art of Living Foundation from 0930-1030 hrs. In addition, several rounds of yoga sessions were also conducted throughout the day. The day-long event was attended by around 10,000 people. The session was telecast live in India as part of the ”Guardian Ring” which covered Yoga events from around the world, underlining One Sun One Earth concept, showcasing the unifying power of Yoga transcending borders.

The Times Square yoga event by the Consulate also displayed a variety of holistic health, Ayurvedic and nature-based wellness products from India.  These products and superfoods were promoted under the ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) initiative of the Government of India. Some of these products included organic turmeric, ginger, cardamom tea, Araku Valley Coffee and Millet pasta. Ginger flakes and organic turmeric from Sikkim, India’s first fully organic state, were also displayed and gifted to yoga enthusiasts. Sourced from across India with assistance of ‘Invest India’, products at the Consulate’s stall generated excitement amongst the visitors who were eager to learn about their uniqueness and health benefits.

Excitement in the run up to the 8 th International Day of Yoga was quite apparent in the large turnout that a number of curtain raiser events saw. These were organized in the weeks ahead of the June 21 celebration at Times Square. The celebrations started on 1st June with a World Yoga Festival organized by the World Yoga Community. Indo-

American Arts & Cultural Forum held a yoga session in association with Center for the Women of New York on June 4 at Bayside, New York. Community members turned up in large numbers for the Yoga Cruise on East River on June 12 organized by the World Vegan Vision. YuVa Shakti discussed benefits of yoga for people with advanced age through a virtual session on June 17. Yoga sessions were also held on June 18 and 19 by Vihangam Yoga.

For the first time, IDY was also celebrated on the US side of Niagara Falls. The Consulate General partnered with Buffalo-Niagara Tamil Mandram and Indian Associations of Buffalo to organize Yoga event at the Goat Island of Niagara Falls State Park on June 19, 2022. This was the first time that IDY was celebrated on the US side of the world’s most famous waterfall. Members of Buffalo Network of Religious Communities, an organization comprising members of different religious groups participated in the yoga celebrations which also brought together Indian students studying in various Universities in Buffalo. The celebrations will now be a regular feature of Buffalo-Niagara region’s culture calendar.

Several other Yoga events are also planned in the coming days in and around New York. GOPIO, Manhattan will organize a virtual event on June 23. On June 25, Isha Foundation and Vihangham Yoga will celebrate IDY at Bridgewater, New Jersey and Shri Venkateshwara Temple NJ will organize a yoga event at Hartsdale, New York. Connecticut will see Yoga celebrations in Manchester on June 26 by MILAN Cultural Association.

The United Nations, in December 2014, had unanimously adopted a resolution piloted by India to celebrate International Day of Yoga on June 21 which is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Since 2015, International Day of Yoga is being celebrated on a large scale across the globe enhancing awareness about the multifaceted benefits of Yoga. Government of Sikkim, Invest India, TRIFED, State Bank of India, ICICI, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Tetley, CaratLane and Art of Living supported the Consulate General of India in celebrating the 8 th International Day of Yoga in New York.

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