First International Day of Yoga Celebrated at UNOG

Shreerupa Mitra-Jha/Geneva
First International Day of Yoga Celebrated at UNOG

The first International Day of Yoga was observed in the picturesque premises of the UN Office at Geneva with ambassadors, senior officials from the UN, WTO and other international organisations, along with yoga aficionados performing 'asanas'.

"Today we have the chance to merge the spirit of multilateralism inherent in the historical walls of the Palais des Nations with the holistic benefits of the timeless practice of yoga," said Michael Moller, Acting Director- General of UNOG who was the chief guest for the event in the sunny lawns of Palais des Nations that overlooks the famous Lake Geneva.

"Today we are marking the official beginning of summer here in Switzerland and the first international day of yoga as recognised by the UN General Assembly. The combination of summer and yoga gives a surreal sense of positive energy.

"As thousands are practicing yoga around the world today, we are sending a strong message of unity and connection—a message that is of substantial value at a time of great challenges but also great opportunities for multilateralism," Moller added.

"Permanent Mission of India in Geneva would be following up on the observance of the International Day of Yoga, by treating it as a continuum and not as a one-off event.

"We are already in discussion with the WHO to give yoga, an important traditional system of Indian medicine, a holistic health perspective and to seek to integrate it among the activities of the Traditional Systems Unit (TSU) of WHO," Ajit Kumar, Permanent Representative of India to UNOG, told PTI.

"We are also working with the WIPO to further promote yoga on a firm footing as a traditional knowledge based on scientific and well-tested methods," Kumar added.

"Yoga, an ancient cultural heritage of India, is also a potent symbol of India's growing soft power. The UN has recognised yoga as a holistic approach to health and well being," Kumar said.

Indian Association Geneva, The Art of Living, Isha Foundation, Iyengar Yoga and Sivananda Yoga Centre joined the Indian Mission as partners in organising the largest yoga demonstration ever in Geneva, with participation of more than 650 people.

IDY was also celebrated in the nearby cities of Lausanne and Nyon, where a large number of yoga enthusiasts gathered during the day to collectively practice yoga.

A photo exhibition themed 'Yoga for harmony and peace' will be held from June 24 during the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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