Lesotho joins global yoga day
SCORES of yoga enthusiasts bent and twisted their bodies into complex postures at Maseru Sun Cabanas on Sunday to mark International Yoga Day.
Organised by the Indian Association of Lesotho (IAL), in collaboration with the Honorary Consul of India to Lesotho and High Commission of India to South Africa in Pretoria, the commemorations are meant to promote the 6 000+-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice which originates from the subcontinent nation. Many believe that yoga, the ancient form of exercise, is the best way to calm the mind and the best form of exercise for the body.
International Yoga Day was tabled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September last year and was subsequently approved by the world body on 11 December 2014.
Said Prime Minister Modi: “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 man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being.
“It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
He further stated that: “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being.”
In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Modi said the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.
From the perspective of yoga, the Summer Solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana. The first full moon after Summer Solstice is known as Guru Poornima.
In addition to the Indian community, Basotho and people of other ethnic backgrounds contorted their bodies to join in the day’s festivities and celebrated the lifestyle and fitness activity.
They were taken through their paces by local guru, Raj Pullanikkatil, who has been practicing yoga for more than three decades and conducts free classes at Maseru Golf Club on weekdays.
Mr Pullanikkatil said yoga keeps the mind and body in sync, helps control impulse reactions, and prevents such ailments as obesity and diabetes.
“Yoga works on the level of one’s body, mind, emotion and energy. It connects nature with the reality of life, restraining it from harmful behaviour. It cultivates a behavior if gratitude, withdrawing from ordinary unacceptable habits.”
He urged the yoga enthusiasts to persevere with the practice saying it takes time to reap results and they should not overexert themselves.
During the 35 minute demonstration, Mr Pullanikkatil demonstrated different postures such as Vriksasana (tree posture) and Tadasana (palm tree posture and the Trikonasana which is the triangle posture”.
In his address, the Honorary Consul of India to Lesotho Man Mohan Bakaya said: “The word Yoga was derived from the Sanskrit root YUJ meaning “to Join, yoke or unite.
“Yoga philosophy and practice were first described by a great sage named Patanjali in his classic text, Yoga Sutras, which is widely acknowledged as the authoritative text of Yoga.”
Some of the benefits of yoga include helping people clear their mind and strengthen their ability to focus more intently. Yoga has also been cited as a great tool in helping children focus and concentrate on academics.
Participants perform yoga on sunday at Maseru sun cabanas to mark the international Yoga Day.