Le­sotho joins global yoga day

Lesotho Times - - Health - Mo­halenyane Phakela

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.

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