India celebrates its yoga tradition with fervor amid pandemic

By Mikaela Viqueira

New Delhi, Jun 21 (EFE).- India was on Monday celebrating the International Yoga Day, with the age-old practice promising a relief for both the body and mind despite it having to be transformed due to the pandemic.

Under the motto “Yoga for Wellness,” ardent followers of the practice in India celebrated the Yoga Day, recognized by the United Nations in 2014, with both open-air and home sessions.

A series of political leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, joined virtual activities and shared their own yoga routines.

Although a mass event was not held for the second consecutive year due to the pandemic, Modi – a long-time practitioner and promoter of the discipline – said that “yoga has remained a ray of hope” in the fight against Covid-19.

 “Yoga helped people muster confidence to fight this disease,” he said.

Yoga, an ancient oriental discipline, has its origins in the Vedas, or scriptures dating back to 1500 BC, which form the base of the Hindu religion.

The practice has been widely promoted by Modi’s government, which on Monday launched an application, m-Yoga, as part of efforts to spread the activity around the world.

“Yoga is so much deeper than just a physical and a practical part. Yes, your (physical) arsenal helps you to get the strength as well, to challenge yourself and strengthen you mind. But it is just one more tool,” Indian yoga practitioner Bindiya Sabharwal told EFE.

“When you are meditating, it gives you a lot of clarity, it gives you so much attention that (..) you can only concentrate on the right path for you. It makes you take the best decision for yourself. Once you make a decision, you have to live with that, so yoga gives you strength to stay in whatever decision you want to make,” she added.

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