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Yoga is ‘truly universal’ and ‘free from copyrights’: Modi

PM leads historic Yoga session at UN

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UNITED NATIONS, June 21 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday described Yoga as “truly universal” and “free from copyrights and patents” as he led a historic event at the UN Headquarters here to commemorate the 9th International Day of Yoga, attended by top UN officials, diplomats and prominent personalities.

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Modi, who is here on the first leg of his maiden state visit to the US at the invitation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, began the celebration by paying respects to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in the North Lawn of the UN headquarters.

The Prime Minister, wearing a customised white yoga T-shirt and trousers, began his address with a ‘Namaste’ and thanked people for coming here from far away to attend the celebration.

“I’m delighted to see you all. And I thank you all for coming. Friends. I’m told that almost every nationality is represented here today,” Modi told the gathering.

He was joined by President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly Csaba Korisi, deputy secretary general Amina Mohammed, and New York City mayor Eric Adams. Hollywood actor Richard Gere, Iyengar yoga exponent Deidra Demens and prominent American singer Mary Millben were among the eminent personalities who joined Prime Minister Modi.

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“I remember about nine years ago right here at the UN, I had the honour to propose celebrating the International Day of yoga on 21st June,” Modi said.

“It was wonderful to see the entire world come together to support the idea back then,” he said, adding that it is wonderful to see the entire world come together again for yoga.

“Yoga comes from India and it is a very old tradition. But like all ancient Indian traditions, it is also living and dynamic. Yoga is free from copyrights, patents and royalty payments. Yoga is adaptable to your age, gender and fitness level. Yoga is portable and is truly universal,” Modi said.

The Yoga celebration led by Prime Minister Modi at the UN headquarters created the Guinness World Record for participation of people of most nationalities, officials said.

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Hundreds of yellow yoga mats were placed on the ground where yoga enthusiasts and practitioners, wearing customised white yoga T-shirts, joined the event.

LED screens playing videos of Indian culture and heritage were set up on the lawn.

“When we do yoga, we feel physically fit, mentally calm and emotionally content. Yoga is a way of life, a way to live in harmony with self, with others and with nature,” he said.

Modi said he is delighted that many people are working on scientifically validating different aspects of yoga.

“Let us use the power of yoga, not only to be healthy, happy, but also to be kind to ourselves and each other, let us use the power of yoga to build bridges of friendship, of a peaceful world and a cleaner, greener sustainable future,” he said.

The historic yoga session was attended by top UN officials, ambassadors, envoys, delegates from Member States as well as prominent members of the global and diaspora community.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, in his video message on the occasion, said yoga unites body and mind, humanity and nature and millions of people across the globe for whom it is a source of strength, harmony and peace.

“In a dangerous and divided world, the benefits of this ancient practice are particularly precious. Yoga offers a haven of calm, it can reduce anxiety and promote mental well-being. It helps us to develop discipline and patience. It connects us to our planet, which so badly needs our protection,” Guterres said.

He added that yoga reveals “our common humanity, helping us to understand that despite our differences, we are one. On this International Day of Yoga, let us embrace the spirit of unity and resolve to build a better, more harmonious world for people, the planet and ourselves.”

The first International Day of Yoga was commemorated in 2015 and has since then been marked with several sessions and events highlighting the benefits and universal appeal of Yoga at the UN, Times Square and iconic locations across the world.

The UN underlined that Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolising the union of body and consciousness. Today it is practised in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.

Recognising its universal appeal, in December 2014, the UN proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. The draft UNGA resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states. The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.

Earlier in a video message on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga, Modi said India has always nurtured traditions that unite, adopt and embrace and made a fervent appeal to eliminate contradictions, hurdles and resistances through yoga.

Modi said Indians have welcomed new ideas, conserved them and celebrated the country’s rich diversity.

Yoga strengthens such feelings, expands the inner vision, and connects us with that consciousness which makes us feel the unity of the living being giving a basis of love for the living being, he said.

“We have to eliminate our contradictions, blockages and resistances through Yoga. We have to present the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ as an example to the world,” Modi said.

Modi also said the International Day of Yoga was special this year as researchers at India’s research stations in the Arctic and Antarctica too were participating in the celebrations.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttp://www.thehillstimes.in
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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