Consul General Riva Ganguly Das made a special appearance at the Summer Solstice International Day of Yoga Event in Times Square, Wednesday.
She spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 people who were there to take a break from their busy New York life and join in the celebrations for the International Day of Yoga.
“After the initiative of the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi, the United Nations declared 21st June as the International Day of Yoga,” said Das in her address.
“A lot of you are practitioners of Yoga and must be doing yoga for a long time but I think since the day has been declared as the International Day of Yoga, Yoga has been embraced by the world,” she added.
Das exclaimed how “yoga is the only form of exercise which brings you at peace with yourself. It is a way to bring your mind, body and spirituality in one place.”
She also emphasized that yoga is meant for everyone, does not matter your age or health condition, yoga will always benefit you in some way “and most importantly it helps you control your mind.”
“If you are in harmony with yourself, you can be in harmony with the environment and the world,” she explained.
Ganguly Das recalled an incident from last year when there was so much construction going on in the area with buses and tourists running around and yet she was amazed to see that “the yogis were happily doing yoga, that’s what yoga does to you, it brings about the calmness in you which I think we all need in today’s world.”
She mentioned that she was very happy to see New York joining in the celebrations of the International Day of Yoga as it is the cross roads of the world and she was pleased to see the promotion of yoga in New York.
The International Day of Yoga was started by Nerendra Modi when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September of 2014 with the idea to dedicate June 21 as a day for yoga as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and yoga has become a daily routine for many all over the world.
“For us in India, respect for nature is an integral part of spiritualism. We treat nature’s bounties as sacred. Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; 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 and in bettering our well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” Modi told Times of India.
The United Nations then declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga from 2015 onwards and since then thousands of people throughout the world join in to celebrate the day by doing yoga.