The 6th International Day of Yoga was celebrated around the world on 21 June. The theme for this year was aptly ‘Yoga at Home – Yoga with Family’.
Social distancing and our new norms for public spaces warranted that the celebrations moved to our homes. But as Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi reminded us in his message on 21 June 2020, “International Day of Yoga is a day of solidarity. That which brings us together is Yoga. That which narrows down distances is Yoga.” From the confines of our homes, through yoga, we can connect to ourselves, bond with our families and share a unique experience with people all across the globe.Today, as people and governments take on the challenge of Covid19, we are realizing the importance of healthy living more and more. This has brought more people towards ancient beneficial practices like Yoga and Ayurveda. Boosting one’s immunity, strengthening one’s metabolism and protecting oneself from respiratory ailments – these have become key concerns for everyone. Various Yogic asanas are known to improve one’s immunity. Breathing techniques such as pranayama helps strengthen the respiratory system. Daily practice of these techniques and asanas of Yoga can help one fight the disease effectively. Balance and holistic living are key concepts underlying yoga. It can help relieve the stress of modern living. Yoga gives us mental balance, emotional stability & physical strenth to confidently negotiate the challenges before us.
Recognizing these benefits of Yoga, United Nations had declared 21 June as International Day of Yoga in 2014. The popularity of yoga has been increasing every year. Tens of thousands of people from Bangladesh join the High Commission of India every year in celebrating the day. In fact, the verdant lawns of the Bangabandhu National Stadium become colorful with many-colored yoga mats. It was my pleasure to participate in last year’s celebrations along with H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, Hon’ble Railway Minister and H.E. Mr. Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Hon’ble State Minister of Shipping, celebrities and over 10,000 people.
This year also, we were glad to see the enthusiasm shown by people all across Bangladesh. Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India had launched an online video blogging competition called ‘My Life My Yoga’. The Bangladesh edition of the competition - ‘My Life My Yoga Bangladesh’ received many entries showing the deep interest people have in yoga and a healthy lifestyle. The High Commission of India organized a 7-day online yoga workshop as well as an online trainer-led Pranayama & Meditation exercise for Yoga enthuasiases in Bangladesh.
India has always stood by Bangladesh in times of challenge. Our governments and our people continue to resolutely combat the challenge posed by Covid19. India and Bangladesh have been sharing best practices in combating Covid19, sharing knowledge through various online capacity building courses. In fact, 3 courses on various aspects of handling the virus are being conducted in this week alone. These capacity building courses are helping our front-line health workers learn from each other and resolutely combat Covid19. As citizens, the best way to support the front-line workers is by keeping oneself safe and healthy.
Yoga takes us closer to a healthier self. Anybody can embrace Yoga. It can unite humanity in its quest for a healthy planet and a balanced life. H.E. Md. Hasan Mahmud, Hon’ble Information Minister noted in his message for the 6th International Yoga day that we can build a healthier and more fulfilling tomorrow through Yoga. Indeed, it is the need of the hour that we act not only to improve our own health, but also that of our loved ones. Through simple acts such as taking up Yoga, mindful and healthy living, we can safeguard ourselves & our families. I strongly believe that with each of our efforts, we will succeed and emerge victorious.