Ambassador of India, Pranay Verma, writes to Việt Nam News to mark International Day of Yoga 2021 (June 21)
Nearly seven years ago, on December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 would be celebrated as the International Day of Yoga every year. The declaration came after the call for the adoption of June 21 as International Day of Yoga by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address at 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.”
Every year since then, the Embassy of India has held International Day of Yoga celebrations in Việt Nam in close co-operation with local governments and various socio-cultural organisations. It is heartening to see the popularity of yoga today across the length and breadth of Việt Nam. Last year, thanks to the successful containment of COVID-19 in Việt Nam, we worked with the provincial authorities of Quảng Ninh Province to hold an impressive event on the shores of the UNESCO cultural heritage site at Hạ Long Bay. This year, due to the constraints brought by the complex development of the COVID-19 situation, we will be observing the 7th International Day of Yoga using a virtual platform.
People join a mass yoga performance by Hạ Long Bay last year. Photo courtesy of the embassy
A gift of ancient India to the world, yoga has become a way of life for millions across the world, including in Việt Nam. Literally, the word ‘yoga’ means ‘to unite’. Indeed, yoga symbolises our mutual affinity and a strong bond connecting the entire humanity in the shared pursuit of wellbeing and happiness. Yoga also helps create harmony between humankind and nature. Today, when the world is facing the onslaught of the COVID-19 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 Phạm Minh Chính on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga this year, Prime Minister Modi underlined yoga’s inherent power to connect humanity and highlighted the special relevance of this year’s theme for the International Day of Yoga – 'Yoga for Wellness' – in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This theme reflects the collective concern for the good health and wellbeing of people across the globe as well as our endeavour to ensure that we focus on both fitness and wellness.
By celebrating the International Day of Yoga on June 21 – 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.
To celebrate the 7th International Day of Yoga, the Indian Embassy’s Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre will hold a series of virtual Yoga sessions in association with various partner organisations in Việt Nam during June 19-27.
These include the Việt Nam Buddhist Sangha, Việt Nam-Indian Friendship Association of Hà Nội, Centre for India Studies at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, the Việt Nam Institute of Indian and Southwest Asian Studies (VIISAS) at the Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences, and the Indian Business Chamber (INCHAM) in Hà Nội.
In the run-up to the IDY 2021, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre has also been organising a series of virtual yoga demonstration classes and lecture series on the benefits of yoga in the current context. In addition, the Cultural Centre is also organising an online yoga quiz for yoga enthusiasts. VNS