CONSULATE GENERAL OF INDIA, BIRMINGHAM HOSTS MEGA YOGA EVENT
WITH SWAMI RAMDEV IN COVENTRY
Consulate General of India organised one of Britain’s largest yoga celebrations on the 4th International Day of Yoga on June 24th at Ricoh Arena Coventry, which was attended by around 2000 Yoga enthusiasts. The session was led by none other than Yog Guru Swami Ramdev.
The fourth International Day of Yoga was celebrated on 21st June across the world. The idea for declaring International Day of Yoga at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was formally proposed by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and in December 2014, a draft resolution was introduced by India. The resolution co-sponsored by 177 UN member States was adopted and June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga. While addressing the UNGA on 27th September 2014, Prime Minister Shri. Modi stated that Yoga was an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfillment, harmony between man and nature and is a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but a discovery of the sense of oneness with self, the world and the nature. By changing one’s lifestyle and creating consciousness, yoga can help everyone to deal with climate change. He urged everyone to work towards embracing Yoga.
Modern lifestyle has lost the harmony of mind-body relationship which has caused several stress-related diseases. An attempt to prevent and treat these diseases triggered a search for better lifestyles and better strategies that converged on the rediscovery of ancient disciplines such as Yoga, which has been proven clinically as well. The art of practicing yoga helps in controlling one’s mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to help manage stress and anxiety and to keep one relaxed. It increases flexibility, improves respiration and adds energy and vitality and its regular practice helps one to have a holistic lifestyle.
With this spirit, on 24th June the Consulate General of India Birmingham in association with Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust organized a grand celebration of Yoga at Ricoh Arena in Coventry - the UK’s city of culture - 2021. Ricoh is a spectacular site in the world of business, entertainment and sports and also home to Premiership Rugby team Wasps and Coventry City Football Club. Over 2,000 Yoga enthusiasts came together at this prestigious location to receive yoga demonstrations from one of the leading yoga masters in the world – Yog Guru Swami Ramdev. The whole event was compéred by Indian actress and Tibetan Yoga practitioner Ms. Raageshwari Loomba Swaroop.
Swami ji, also known as Baba Ramdev is known for adopting innovative techniques to make yoga popular among masses and his yoga camps are invariably attended by a large number of people. He is one of the founders of the Divya Yoga Mandir Trust that aims to popularise Yoga. He is also the founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, Haridwar, an institution for treatment and research in Yoga and Ayurveda. Baba Ramdev has spent many years studying ancient Indian scriptures and practicing intense self-discipline and meditation. He has taught several aspects of traditional Indian scriptures such as Ashtadhyayee, Mahabhashya and Upanishads along with six systems of Indian Philosophy in various Gurukuls. He has helped to establish ‘Acharyakulam’ Gurukuls in India, to promote traditional form of education. Swami ji has bagged various awards and achievements during his lifetime including Chandrashekharendra Saraswati award in 2011 by Maharashtra Governor and ‘Tarun kranti’ award in 2012 at Ahmedabad. He has been appointed as the ‘Brand Ambassador of Yoga’ by the Government of Haryana in 2015 and in 2017 he was ranked 5th in the 50 most powerful people in India by the India today magazine.
The programme started with lighting of ceremonial lamp by the dignitaries - Honourable Consul General of India, Birmingham, Dr. Aman Puri, the Chief Guest Yog Guru Swami Ramdev, Ms. Sunita Poddar, CEO- Oakminster Healthcare Ltd andTrustee of Patanjali Yog Peeth UK Trust, Dr. Ashok Kumar, Consultant Physician and Director of Ayurvedic Natural Medicine Practice and other distinguished guests.
This was followed by the screening of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s speech on the International Day of Yoga 2018. Prime Minister said that Yoga is one of the most precious gifts given by ancient Indian sages to the world. He said that Yoga is not only the exercises we do every day, performing daily activities with due diligence and complete awareness is yoga as well. He also stated that yoga goes beyond age, gender, caste, creed, religion and nations and that with more people embracing yoga, the next challenge is to produce institutionally trained yoga teachers and standard systems which would ignite the flame further especially among the youth.
Consul General of India in Birmingham, DrAman Puri in his welcome address thanked all the dignitaries and yoga enthusiasts for gracing the occasion and appreciated the way everyone had gathered in Coventry - UK’s City of Culture 2021 and hoped that one day around 100000 people will be doing Yoga with Swami Ramdev in the very same city. The Consul General observed that the International Yoga Day has become one of the biggest mass movements in the quest for good health and well-being. He stated that Yoga4NHS, which is a collaboration of UK yoga community leaders and healthcare professionals was established in 2014 to provide support to the UK healthcare system. The research can help to apply yoga in different clinical situations and to study how yoga can be integrated with NHS beneficially for both employees and patients. Dr. Puri also announced the Consulate’s new initiative to organise free yoga classes on a regular basis along with training sessions at different Universities and organisations by the new Yoga teacher who recently joined the Consulate. He urged all the yoga enthusiasts and practitioners to build on this momentum in the times to come.
Mr David Burbridge, Chairman of the Coventry City of Culture Trust stated that health and well-being is an integral aspect of culture. He encouraged people to bring forward ideas to be celebrated during the year long events. He mentioned that it was important for Coventry to address the needs of its diverse communities and assured that Coventry will be having a fantastic event in ‘UK City of Culture 2021’ and he hoped that yoga celebrations would be a part of this event.
Baroness Sandip Verma, Chairperson of European External Affairs Committee (former Minister of Energy and Climate Change and International Development) quoted Prime Minister Shri Modi that through yoga one can go from “ME to WE” and can bind people together again. She observed that people today are becoming distressed and that yoga helps to bind people together again.
Mrs. Sunita Poddar, CEO - Oakminster Healthcare Ltd and Trustee of Patanjali Yog Peeth UK Trust highlighted Swami Ramdev’s achievements in the field of yoga. She stated that regular practice of yoga helps to overcome mood swings and health issues. She informed that these days one in eight children are diagnosed with mental health issues and yoga being a holistic exercise can help in the physical, emotional and mental development.
Mr Nikhil Nanda, Managing Director JHS Svendgaard Laboratories, stated that yoga is important for everyone and should be done by each one in the same spirit. He stressed that everyday should be “Yog Day”. Dr Ashok, a doctor of Ayurveda, wished everyone good health and encouraged the gathering to take a positive energy back home.
Yog Guru Swami Ramdev in his discourse emphasised the importance of yoga and its benefits to mankind. He emphasised that Yoga helps to conquer the stressful lifestyle the modern day person faces and calm both body and mind. Swami ji during his demonstrations elaborated the positive healing effects of breathing exercises known as ‘Pranayama’. He emphasised that through regular practice pranayama can cure many ailments. The yoga enthusiasts gathered in the arena took this opportunity to practice yoga along with the master and to learn and imbibe more of this ancient art form of holistic exercise of mind and body. The participants were introduced to Yogasanas, Kapalbhati, Pranayama, Dhyna, Sankalpa and Meditation by Swami Ramdev Ji. Swami ji conducted yoga demonstrations in a very friendly and jovial atmosphere, he even encouraged children to join him on stage to perform yoga asanas. He was impressed to hear British children fluently recite the Gayatri Mantra during the event.
A special mention was made by the Consul General regarding the contribution of Patanjali Yog Peeth Trust UK in making the event a success. He acknowledged the support of the event partners JHS Svendgaard Laboratories, Ltd, State Bank of India, Incredible India, Mahirs Experience and VFS Global Services UK. All who witnessed the event departed with great fervor, enthusiasm and with a pledge to make yoga an integral part of their day to day life.