Through Yoga India brings the world together

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By Vijay Badhwar
It was only an act on stage by two NSW parliamentarians  in opposite camps, impromptu and impermanent, but an apt reminder on the second International Yoga Day that union of minds is a joyful experience, an occasion to celebrate the oneness even in our diversity.
Jodi McKay, NSW Labor Member from Strathfield and Geoff Lee, Liberal Member from Parramatta and Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, joined hands with the Hindu Council of Australia to celebrate the International Yoga Day on June 23 instead of June 21, as adopted by the United Nations, as the parliament was in session and debating the State budget.
Their act enthralled everyone in the audience who cheered and clapped as Jodi McKay leaned her head on Geoff Lee’s shoulder as he read three benefits from yoga for all parliamentarians that are missing largely from politics: better thoughts, control stress/emotions and improving relationships.
Mr. Lee said he was disappointed not to organise a flat floor for a practice session, but the challenge was taken up by a lady form the audience who came up on stage and made Geoff Lee do a full round of Surya Namaskar to the applause of all present.
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The Indian Consul General, Mr Vanlalvawna, expressed his appreciation for holding the practice of the ancient Indian tradition at the august house, recognised as International Yoga Day by an unprecedented support from the United Nations. He read a message from the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, that yoga was a special gift from the Indian community to multicultural Australia, adding, “Yoga is not only a set of physical exercises; it transforms the spirit to make a better person.”
Mr Vanlalvawna also read a message from the Indian PM: “I recall iconic images of yoga practice from Vladivostok to Vancouver, from Cape town to Copenhagen… Through yoga one can access a new dimension of the self, well being, balance in life and a much needed sense of clarity.”
Various Yoga groups from Sydney – Know Thyself As Self Foundation, Isha, Heartfulness Institute, Art of Living Sri Sri  Yoga – outlined their philosophies and specific benefits from their practices, a practice session of  Yoga in the end leaving everyone deeply relaxed.
The Indian Consul General  celebrated the 2nd International Day of Yoga on June 26 at the picturesque Taronga Zoo Function Centre in the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the  skyscrapers of the business district.
Mr Vanlalvawna, after reading the messages on the occasion from the Australian and Indian Prime Ministers, introduced ultra marathon runner Pat Farmer who had recently completed a 4300 Kms run from Kanyakumari in the south to Kashmir in the north.
Pat Farmer recounted his journey from the beaches in Goa to palaces in Rajasthan to majestic mountains in Kashmir. He said he was impressed getting to know the Indian population who worked in unity to make up what we know as the Indian nation. “Australians and the world can learn a lot through the practice of yoga. We are what we are, but on the inside, we are all the same,” he said.
The guided yoga exercises from a video screen made a visual treat as people stretched on their multi-hued mats spread in an arch. A majority among them were local Australians who now form the larger Indo-Australian community, thanks to yoga.

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