Australia immerses in yoga on June 21


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By Neena Badhwar

The Hindu Council of Australia (HCA) got together with Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh (HSS) and Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) and organised celebrations of the International Yoga Day (IYD) at Parramatta Town Hall Square and Bondi Beach in Sydney. The programs were more elaborate and inclusive as it invited various yoga institutions to display and hold sessions, talks and activities.

Bondi beach goers instead of taking a dip in the sea or sunbathing were not only impressed but participated in the yoga excercises that included surya namaskar at 7.30am in the morning. People were then invited to join in various talks, yoga sessions and meditation demonstrations in an interactive environment as all had come prepared with yoga mats wearing yoga outfits.

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Although marred by intermittent showers, the celebrations indoor and outdoor attracted wide participation by the community.

Yoga session by Sri Om Care in Parramatta was particularly interesting as it backed benefits of various yoga postures by a professional physiotherapist Sowjanya Pasupulety.

Laughter yoga upstairs had the group laughing with almost belly aching laughs. Spiritual energy flowed all around as outside there were bhajans, instrumental music, kirtan and yoga sessions while close by people played table tennis on a table nicely enconsed to suit the atmosphere. People visited various stalls run by yoga and meditation groups with plenty of material provided to them.

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As the skies cleared in the late afternoon, the square was packed with yoga enthusiasts following various postures of Surya Namaskar, indeed a sight for passersby.

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Says organiser, Balesh Singh Dhankad, “It has been sheer hard work for us for the past two months as we realised that there is keen interest from various organisation involved in yoga. I was quite impressed with the passion they have for yoga. I can see that it will turn into much better and bigger celebration in the years to come.”

Balesh says that the IYD celebration went beyond the organiser’s expectation as over 1500 people, both in Bondi and Parramatta, came through and participated.

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“We had other cities also taking part with Melbourne which had programs conducted from seven different locations, also in Adelaide, Perth and in Brisbane as well. And it was all provided free everywhere.”

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“The aim was to connect yoga back to India and make sure to connect to many who are not into yoga yet so that they also benefit from this ancient Indian tradition which is our cultural heritage,” said Balesh.

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Yoga in India was celebrated with much fanfare as many politicians and leaders joined in. Said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he took part in mass yoga on Rajpath attended by 40,000 participants as Delhi became the city for conducting yoga session with record number of participants, “It’s India’s responsibility to make yoga reach each and every corner of the world. For a healthy, happy world we must establish the roots of yoga all over.”

Modi said that ”˜Rajpath today had become Yogpath.”

A yoga awareness and wave was created when ”˜International Day of Yoga’ was announced as more than 180 countries agreed to be part of it in September last year at the UN. Since Yoga originated in India, Sadhu Jaggi Vasdev said on the occasion, “Yoga till today has been thought of as ”˜twisting the self’ but by celebrating it today it has helped to bring the profoundness of yoga to the world.”

“Yoga is the science of inner being. It is a historical day that yoga has been recognised by the whole world. Today marks the day for yoga meaning that it is the only way to go inside and not out,” he said.

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