A Hangover of International Day of Yoga Celebrations

Yoga session at the kick off at Queens Museum June 10 / Photo/ TIP

The International Day of Yoga celebrations may have been over but the interest in Yoga generated by nearly 50 Yoga events coordinated by the Indian Consulate, New York, mostly in the States of New York and New Jersey is quite noticeable. It can be noticed in the conversation of people who have taken to Yoga after having learnt about the ancient health system of India. Also, it is perceptible in the increased number of yoga centers and yoga practitioners.

Sadhguru teaching Yoga at the International Yoga Day celebrated on 21st June 2016 | Photos / Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia
Sadhguru teaching Yoga at the International Yoga Day celebrated on 21st June 2016 | Photos / Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia

There were over 50 events in the jurisdiction of the Indian Consulate, New York and the Consulate was represented at a select few. Besides the events in the Hindu Temple and Times Square; that had over 15,000 participants, the yoga events were organized at John F. Kennedy Airport, New York and Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey besides events organized at several elementary, middle schools and Ivy League universities.

A large number of diplomats participated. India's PR to the UN, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin is seen here doing Yoga with fellow diplomats
A large number of diplomats participated. India’s PR to the UN, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin is seen here doing Yoga with fellow diplomats – Photos / Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia

As the events ranged over a couple of weeks, to ensure maximum coverage, the Consulate organized a press meet on June 8, 2016 for advance briefing for the local press. Around 20 members of the ethnic and mainstream press and media attended. The mediapersons were given details of all events on a flash drive with other take away material like Yoga bags, IDY Protocol, Yoga books, Yoga coasters and information materials.

A curtain raiser event was also held at the Queens Museum, on June 11th, to mark the beginning of the series of events to celebrate 2nd International Day of Yoga.

Consul General Mrs. Riva Ganguly Das (right) and Deputy Consul General Dr Manoj Kumar Mohapatra addressing the gathering
Consul General Mrs. Riva Ganguly Das (right) and Deputy Consul General Dr Manoj Kumar Mohapatra addressing the gathering

The main event to celebrate IDY was held at the Consulate on June 21st. The Consulate in association with Sahaja Yoga and Mallakhamb Federation of USA organized an interesting and impressive event. There was a meditation session followed by Malachi’s demonstration and also included a performance by an artist Tanya Wells.

The Art of Living Foundation, with the support of the Consulate, hosted events in New York, Boston and Columbus on SugarcaneKaiya and meditation.

Likewise, a day-long event with parallel yoga sessions, group asana sessions and meditation was organized by the Hindu Temple. Times Square’s summer solstice had over 15,000people come together to do yoga through the whole day.

Sahaja Yoga organized 3 events apart from the one at the Consulate in New York, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The format included meditation session followed by a musical performance.

Mogens Lykketoft, President of the seventieth session of the United Nations General Assembly speaking at International Day of Yoga at UN on 21st June, 2016. Also seen in the picture is Ms. Cristina Gallach, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
Mogens Lykketoft, President of the seventieth session of the United Nations General Assembly speaking at International Day of Yoga at UN on 21st June, 2016. Also seen in the picture is Ms. Cristina Gallach, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information

Mallakhamb Federation of USA held demonstrations and conducted Yoga sessions at 5 schools in New Jersey and Connecticut.

World Yoga Community, Indian Cultural Association of North America, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, South Asian Arts Council, Indian American Cultural Association of Westchester had events at various locations and on multiple days that saw people coming together to celebrate yoga.

The Consulate also roped in Sahaja Yoga to conduct demonstration in the Newark Liberty International Airport and the John F. Kennedy Airport for 2 days. They held sessions for passengers in transit or waiting included meditation for relaxation. We received excellent feedback from not just the passengers, but also the airport authorities. We presented the organizers with gifts including the yoga books sent from Ministry for all their efforts.

Deputy Consul General Manoj Mohapatra introducing the new Consul General Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das - TIP - File Photo
Deputy Consul General Manoj Mohapatra introducing the new Consul General Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das – TIP – File Photo

Recalling the cooperation of various associations, business houses, government of India outlets and media, the Deputy Consul General Mr. Manoj Mohapatra who coordinated and supervised International Day of Yoga celebrations said: “All the cultural organizations involved, represented by the Indian-American communities, worked tirelessly to ensure the 2nd International Day of Yoga events that spanned over a month were flawlessly executed. Our stakeholder and partners like State Bank of India, Air India, Andhra Bank, Incredible India and TV Asia also sponsored Yoga T-shirts, Caps, Towels and Yoga mats for the airport.Besides, our media partners covered all the events, photographs and videos clips of the same were uploaded timely on social media. The ethnic press partners like The Indian Panorama, The South Asian Times, News India Times, IANS carried special supplements, articles and listed the events planned for the 2nd International day of Yoga. Similarly, several TV channels including TV Asia, Just Broadcasting, NDTV, BBC Hindi and ITV covered these events live.”

Commenting on the celebration of the IDY, Mr. Mohapatra said: “Based on the overwhelming response we have received for International Yoga Day from not just the Indian, but the American community as well, we are of the opinion that the momentum set by the first 2 years of celebration will only gain greater momentum going forward. We expect that the next year will see a lot more participation from various organizations. A few schools and colleges where we held 2nd IDY celebration have been forthcoming in planning to include yoga in their curriculum. One of most popular events of the IDY celebrations were the demonstrations held at the airports and we have already been approached by a few associations who have expressed their desire to associate with us to ensure that next year events are held at scale much grander than this year. They also want to work with us in continuing to spread the message of wellbeing through yoga. This Consulate has always been a big proponent of yoga and we have been holding free yoga classes, in our facility, for the past one year and as yoga is practiced in different forms we have recently started another weekly Sahaja yoga session for a couple of months”.

Representatives of organizations participating in the second IYD with the Consul General Riva Ganguly Das | Photos/ courtesy Paras Chettri
Representatives of organizations participating in the second IYD with the Consul General Riva Ganguly Das | Photos/ courtesy Paras Chettri

In addition to the Indian Consulate coordinated yoga events, the Permanent Mission of India also organized celebrations of International Day of Yoga at the United Nations.