Thousand crowd Times Square For International Yoga Day

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The Indian Consulate in New York held International Day of Yoga at Times Square attracting thousands to the event. Those in the front row include Inda’s Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, Swami Avdheshanand Giri, and Deputy Consul General Varun Jeph. Photo4: Facebook @IndianinNewYork

The Indian Consulate in New York along with the Times Square Alliance, celebrated International Day of Yoga June 21, 2022, at the iconic ‘Crossroads of the World’. The day coincides with the Summer Solstice, and numerous other organizations began the celebrations early morning and yoga events carried on for the whole day.

Yoga teacher and Chair of the Art of Living Foundation, Ruchika Lal, guiding those present at Times Square June 21, 2022 at the International Day of Yoga organized by the Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: Photo: Facebook @IndiainNewYork
Thousands of people gathered at Times Square June 21, 2022, for the day long festivities around International Day of Yoga. The Indian Consulate in New York was among the organizers along with Times Square Alliance. Photo: Facebook @IndiaInNewYork

The IDY was adopted by the United Nations back in 2015, following the recommendations of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is now a worldwide event and was celebrated in the United States in numerous venues around the nation.

This year on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the IDY celebrations have become part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative of India.

India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, addresses the crowd at Times Square during the International Day of Yoga celebrations June 21, 2022. Photo Facebook @IndiaInNewYork
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India’s Consul General in New York kicked off the IDA segment hosted by the Consulate at Times Square speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to save the environment on June 5, World Environment Day. He introduced Swami Acharya Adveshanand Giri who traveled from India to be at the event. Swami Giri chanted a Sanskrit verse and translated it to mean, “Lead us from the unreal to the real, lead us from death to immortality. Om! peace, peace.”

Swami Acharya Adveshanand Giri speaks at Times Square Int’l Yoga Day June 21, 2022, as Indian Consul General Randhir Jaiswal looks on. Photo FB @IndniaInNewYork

“I am very happy to be here. A very warm welcome to you all,” he said. He described Yoga, which is actually called ‘Yog’ and said it was an ‘absolute honor’ to represent ‘Incredible India’ which is “The land of yoga.”

Yoga was more than just exercise, and if practiced consistently, he noted, it brings firmness of mind. He dwelt on the proven record of yoga being good for mental health.

Ruchika Lal, chair of the Art of Living Foundation and a yoga instructor, demonstrated some of the exercises, noting that it is 20 years since Yoga began at Times Square. She began with the “universal sound Om’ – saying the frequency is the same as the earth rotating around its axis. She encouraged the crowd to join her in saying Om three times, before presenting some of the asanas.

From hundreds of events around India, jump-started by Prime Minister Modi early morning India time, the global event is held in countries ranging from The Maldives to Geneva, U.K., Australia, Madagascar to countries in the Caribbean, and up in the Himalayas by 50,000 Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel who held it in sub-zero temperatures, to name just a few.

Celebrations begin even before the actual slated day for the event, such as in Washington, D.C. where the India Embassy held it on June 18, 2022, a Saturday, to allow for wider attendance.

At Times Square, several rounds of yoga sessions were also conducted throughout the day. The Indian Consulate, in a press release, estimated the day-long event was attended by around 10,000 people. The session was telecast live in India as part of the ”Guardian Ring” which covered Yoga events from around the world, underlining One Sun One Earth concept, showcasing the unifying power of Yoga transcending borders.

The Times Square yoga event by the Consulate also displayed a variety of holistic health, Ayurvedic and nature-based wellness products from India, the press release said.  These products and superfoods were promoted under the ‘One District One Product (ODOP) initiative of the Government of India.  Some of these products included organic turmeric, ginger, cardamom tea, Araku Valley Coffee and Millet pasta. Ginger flakes and organic turmeric from Sikkim, India’s first fully organic state, were also displayed and gifted to yoga enthusiasts. “Sourced from across India with assistance of ‘Invest India’, products at the Consulate’s stall generated excitement amongst the visitors who were eager to learn about their uniqueness and health benefits,” the Indian Consulate said.

The Yoga Day celebrations started on June 1, with a World Yoga Festival organized by the World Yoga Community. Indo-American Arts & Cultural Forum held a yoga session in association with Center for the Women of New York on June 4 at Bayside, New York. Community members turned up in large numbers for the Yoga Cruise on East River on June 12 organized by the World Vegan Vision. YuVa Shakti discussed benefits of yoga for people with advanced age through a virtual session on June 17. Yoga sessions were also held on June 18 and 19 by Vihangam Yoga.

(Updated June 22, 2022)

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