Indian peacekeepers, UN diplomats to join Yoga Day celebrations

United Nations, Jun 16: Indian peacekeepers serving in UN missions, participants from about 100 nationalities and top UN diplomats will join the second International Day of Yoga celebration next week with emphasis on how Yoga can help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said this year's celebration of the International Yoga Day will lay special emphasis on enhancing awareness that Yoga is a holistic approach and not just a physical activity.


India's Permanent Mission will organise on June 20 the first 'Conversation with Yoga Masters' that will "seek to enrich our collective understanding of the unique features of Yoga and its role for the achievement of SDGs."

Isha Foundation founder and spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev will participate in the event. On June 21, the Indian mission in association with the UN Department of Public Information will commemorate the Yoga day at the world body's headquarters that will be attended by General Assembly President Morgens Lykketoft, Under-Secretary- General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach and Sadhguru, who will lead a simple Yoga practice.

The event will include a musical incantation on Yoga and renowned British singer Tanya Wells will recite Sanskrit shlokas. Akbaruddin said a huge and diverse turnout is expected at the Yoga Day gathering at the UN Secretariat Circle, with participants from 100 nationalities having registered for the event so far.

Ambassadors and diplomats from various countries will also share their own experiences of how Yoga has influenced their life styles.

Indian peacekeepers are also practicing to observe the Yoga Day in the 13 peacekeeping operations where they are currently deployed, including in South Sudan, Congo and Lebanon, "tangibly demonstrating the role of Yoga in promoting peace and harmony," the Indian envoy added.

A host of other events have also been organised by the Indian Consulate in association with the local Indian community organizations in the New York tri-state area. For the commemoration, the Consulate has partnered with more than 25 associations.

The organisations will be hosting special Yoga sessions in schools, temples as well as at the JFK International Airport and Newark Airport. A special yoga day celebration will also be commemorated at the Kresge Auditorium of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

The first International Yoga Day was commemorated at the UN with aplomb last year, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj leading the celebrations along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

In December 2014, the UN General Assembly had adopted a resolution with a record number of 177 co-sponsoring member states to establish the International Day of Yoga to be commentated every year on June 21.


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