Syazwani Hj Rosli
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; 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. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
This was said by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his United Nations (UN) General Assembly address on September 27, 2014. He proposed the idea to celebrate yoga globally in his address.
Ever since then, International Day of Yoga is celebrated on June 21 annually.
Yoga, an ancient Indian practice that started more than 5,000 years ago, was designed to foster harmony of the body and mind. Yoga derives from the Sanskrit word yug (yoke), which means union. It has become an important part of Indian culture and civilisation.
With the theme ‘Yoga for Health – Yoga at Home’, the 6th International Day of Yoga was celebrated differently this year. Most of it was observed in virtual settings.
In Brunei Darussalam, the International Day of Yoga was organised by the High Commission of India in Brunei Darussalam at the residence of the High Commissioner of India to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar in Kota Batu.
The event, held in the early morning with small group of people, was streamed live on YouTube and Facebook for other yoga practitioners to join the celebration.
A talk on ‘Ayurveda and Immunity’ by Dr Nisha Manikantan was conducted online where participants were briefed about the benefits of yoga practices. She highlighted the importance of an Ayurvedic diet to boost immunity in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. The yoga session was led by Teacher of Indian Culture (TIC) at the High Commission of India in Brunei Darussalam Ram Lavat Prajapati.
In an interview, High Commissioner Ajaneesh Kumar praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his initiative in offering yoga to the world in 2014. “When we celebrate the International Day of Yoga, the Indian embassies, the yoga practitioners, the yoga gurus organise sessions so people would come and practise together.
“There are several yoga postures, poses, meditations and breathing exercises. There are beginners, middle and advanced level,” he said.
In regards to the virtual session to commemorate International Day of Yoga this year, the high commissioner said that although the pandemic changed people’s lifestyle, yoga can act as a booster and help them to de-stress.
“The Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has done a marvelous job in not only containing but keeping this pandemic in check. All agencies of the government have done a tremendous job,” he said.
The high commission, in collaboration with Indian associations, also organised an Essay Writing Competition, Poster Making Competition and a Yoga Day Family Quiz Competition to mark the celebration.
The high commission, on behalf of the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy), Government of India, also conducted a video blogging contest entitled ‘My Life My Yoga’, which focussed on the transformative impact of Yoga on the lives of the individuals.