Cairenes to celebrate International Day of Yoga in Al-Azhar Park

Ingy Deif, Monday 13 Jun 2016

Yoga Day on 21 June will be marked with events in Al-Azhar Park organised by the Indian embassy

Ambassador of India, Sanjay Bhattacharyya annoncing celeberation of IDY (photo: Ahramonline
Ambassador of India, Sanjay Bhattacharyya announcing celebration of IDY (photo: Ahramonline

In September 2014 during the 69th session of United Nations’ General Assembly, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi submitted a resolution to launch International Yoga Day.

In December of the same year, the General Assembly agreed to the proposal with 177 countries sponsoring the resolution, which was unprecedented in the field of cultural activities.

History was made, and 21 June was declared the International Day of Yoga, which was first celebrated last year.

In support of the day, the UN released the Common Yoga Protocol, a small booklet providing a brief overview about yoga and yogic practices.

Two Guinness world records were achieved last year; the first was the largest number of yoga participants at one time (almost 36,000) and the second was the largest number of different nationalities participating at the same time (84).

To mark International Yoga Day this year, the Embassy of India will be organising a special event at the lakeside area of Al-Azhar Park on 21 June at 6pm, while the Common Yoga Protocol will take place at 8pm.

A large number of yoga schools and institutions in Egypt will also take part in the celebrations.

One of the highlights of last year event was the attendance of Egyptian football star Emad Meteb. This year there will be a number of guests of honour, one of which is Ms Egypt 2015, Iman Ahmed.

Yoga Day will also be celebrated for the first time in other governorates of Egypt, including Ismailia and Alexandria.

In the run up to the celebration, the Indian embassy organized for the first time a yoga championship on 5 June, as well as a photography competition called “Yoga in Egypt.”

The winners of the photogarphy competition will be honoured at the event in Al-Azhar Park.

Keeping in view that Yoga Day takes place during Ramadan, attendants are welcomed to join in before or after the iftar meal.

"We have noticed strong growth in the practice of yoga in Egypt in the last year,” India’s ambassador to Egypt, Sanjay Bhattacharyya, said during a small gathering with journalists held at the embassy last week.

“We are proud of Egypt's support for International Yoga Day, and this has encouraged us to reach out wider to more participants and host the event in a large public park in Cairo, and to head to Alexandria and Ismailia for the first time," he said.

Prior to the meeting, a small documentary was screened, shedding light on the long history of yogic practices in India, and mentioning widely practiced forms including Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Samadhi, Mantra-japa and Anusara, and others.

The documentary highlighted how yoga has gained substantial popularity worldwide over recent decades, reflected in the worldwide celebrations marking Yoga Day last year.

Ambassador Bhattacharyya told Ahram Online that only in the last year, the number of yoga schools in Egypt skyrocketed threefold, and that the estimated number of regular yoga enthusiasts exceeds 1,500.

"Egypt and India both share that they have a deep-rooted history and culture; this definitely strikes a bond between both people. Indians are very fond of Egypt and its heritage, and we have noticed a surge in the number of Indian tourists to Egypt that increased last year by 27 percent," he said.



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