For a while it looked like it would be a wet afternoon—“I really hope it doesn’t rain,” remarked Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Laduhthlana Ralte—but the heavens smiled and allowed for a pleasant, albeit warm, afternoon to celebrate the second International Day of Yoga (IDY) in Manila last Saturday, June 18, at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati.
The United Nations declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga in December 2014, championed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and it has since been celebrated worldwide.
Yoga, a 5,000-year-old tradition and philosophical system, is considered one of India’s greatest gifts to the world.
It is now practiced everywhere, even becoming a billion-dollar industry in the west. Although its study covers eight different “limbs,” its system of postures or asana has become most popular to benefit both body and mind.
“Yoga is much more than exercise,” emphasized the Indian embassy in its statement on IDY. “It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being, a sense of oneness with yourself, the world, and nature.”
At Saturday’s event, the crowd, which included practitioners in yoga outfits, families, students and others, began gathering as early as 3 p.m. in the open field in front of the stage for the program. The open-air setting with overhead buntings, booths and nearby restaurants contributed to the picnic ambiance.
People spread out mats and waited in the grass, regaled by musical numbers from the Science of Identity Foundation.
The program itself included welcome remarks by Ralte; a yoga demonstration annotated by Speedo’s Chandru Mehtani; a meditation and breathing session by the Art of Living; a class by Urban Ashram’s Nica Hechanova; and a yoga demonstration by the Iyengar Yoga Center Manila. SIF’s concluding musical performance in the evening brought the audience to its feet.
The event was sponsored by Wipro Philippines, India Tourism, Lulu-Philippines International Exchange Inc., New India Assurance, Tamber Tours & Travels, and Mahindra Philippines, with Ayala Land Inc. as venue partner, MakeitMakati and WheninManila as media partners.