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Yoga, an invaluable gift from ancient Indian civilisation to the modern world

Update: June, 19/2020 - 10:02
People practise yoga on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga last year.  Photo courtesy of the embassy

Ambassador of India to Việt Nam Pranay Verma 

On December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 69/131 declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. The declaration came after the call for the adoption of June 21 as the International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 when he stated: "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 humankind and nature; a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.”

Yoga is a unique contribution from ancient Indian civilisation to the modern world. The literal meaning of the word ‘yoga’ is ‘to unite’. Ancient Indian texts tell that the practice of yoga helps the union between individual consciousness and the universal consciousness, which is the key to achieving the perfect harmony between mind, soul and body. This very basic idea has been guiding the lives of many since the beginning of civilisation in India and across the world. This has also helped in creating harmony between humankind and nature, which is important to ensure ecological balance and a compassionate outlook towards all.

Yoga has had a deep-rooted symbiosis with several Buddhist schools including the Mahayana and the Theravada. The Buddhist scholars developed manuals for yogic and meditative training enabling the practitioner to attain the Bodhisattva, the full awakening.

Our civilisational connection brought yoga to Việt Nam’s shores in ancient times and has deeply influenced the lives of people here. In modern times, as yoga is helping to connect humanity across the world to achieve a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle, it is heartening to see the popularity of yoga today across the length and breadth of Việt Nam. It is in this spirit that since 2015, India and Việt Nam have been closely partnering to observe the International Day of Yoga every year, creating awareness about yoga and bringing its benefits to millions of practitioners.

Ambassador Pranay Verma. — Photo courtesy of the embassy

Việt Nam’s commendable achievements in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have encouraged various Vietnamese provinces to observe the International Day of Yoga this year.

In present times, where people all around the world are adapting their lives to the new reality of a pandemic, yoga has become even more relevant – by helping us maintain a healthy regimen and boosting our immunity and sense of balance in these extraordinary times.

In a message sent to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga this year, Prime Minister Modi has highlighted the importance of yoga in today’s context, given its effectiveness in boosting immunity and in offering relief from lifestyle-related diseases.

By celebrating the International Day of Yoga from wherever we are, even from our homes and with our friends and families – let us celebrate our common humanity and contribute to the global healing process.

Let us embrace yoga to make wellness a part of our lives. Let the light of yoga illuminate the world, elevate the mind and empower humankind everywhere. We wish health, happiness and peace to all through the regular practice of yoga. — VNS

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