Durban to mark International Day of Yoga

The International Day of Yoga will take place on June 21. Pictured, above, are participants at a previous yoga gathering marking the event. | Supplied

The International Day of Yoga will take place on June 21. Pictured, above, are participants at a previous yoga gathering marking the event. | Supplied

Published Jun 17, 2024


Durban — About 3 500 people are expected to gather on the lawns of Durban’s Amphitheatre at North Beach on Saturday to mark International Day of Yoga.

The Sivananda World Peace Foundation will celebrate the 10th International Day of Yoga with a programme at the Durban Amphitheatre, commencing at 9am.

The International Day of Yoga was launched by the UN in 2015. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline which originated in ancient India. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his UN address in 2014, suggested an annual Day of Yoga on June 21.

This event brings together people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities to participate in yoga and meditation, breathing exercises and cultural performances.

Ishwar Ramlutchman, of the Sivananda World Peace Foundation, said they were calling on members of the community to join hands and use yoga as a medium to promote unity in diversity.

He said this year’s theme, “Yoga For Women’s Empowerment”, highlighted the transformative power of the discipline in fostering strength, resilience and balance in women’s lives.

“Yoga is part of our Master Swami Sivananda’s teachings. Here we are promoting peace, unity and social cohesion through yoga.

“Throughout the year, we do yoga in schools in rural communities. We are working with government and community stakeholders to ensure that thousands of men, women, youth and children will embrace yoga and practise this holistic mental and physical exercise.

“It is a way towards leading better lifestyles, promoting peace and living in harmony with other racial, religious and cultural groups. Yoga is not only for a selective few.

“We have launched a mobile yoga trailer to visit communities to improve awareness and its benefits,” he said.

Music, dance and talks will be part of the programme, which is a free event to the public.

Ramlutchman said many dignitaries from the religious, business, government, traditional leaders and various communities would be attending this year’s event.

He said the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi attended all Yoga Day events previously.

According to IANS, Modi after urging everyone to make yoga an integral part of their lives, this week posted a video of an “asana” (yoga exercise or pose), saying it could help to ensure more strength.

“Tadasana (standing position exercises) is very good for the body. It will ensure more strength and better alignment,” said Modi on X, who also shared an AI-generated video of himself performing the exercise.

In the run-up to the International Day of Yoga, Modi has been posting his AI-generated videos performing various asanas and describing their benefits.

This week, he urged people to reiterate their commitment to making yoga an integral part of their lives and also encourage others to do the same.

He also shared a set of videos that offer guidance on various asanas.

Modi said: “As Yoga Day approaches, I am sharing a set of videos that will offer guidance. I hope this inspires you all to practise yoga regularly.”

Emphasising the importance of integrating yoga into daily life, he said: “Yoga offers a sanctuary of calm, enabling us to navigate life’s challenges with calm and fortitude.”

He further said that yoga transcended cultural and geographical boundaries, uniting millions across the globe in the pursuit of holistic well-being.

The scale and the level of celebration of the International Day of Yoga have increased every year since its inauguration. A Guinness World Record was set in Gujarat, India, last year when 135 nations participated in the yoga celebration. | Additional reporting by IANS

Sunday Tribune