The COVID-19 pandemic has shown to the world the temporary nature of things and yoga “helps us connect with our true selves,” renowned Indian spiritual leader Swami Avdheshanand Giri said on Tuesday as hundreds of people descended at the iconic Times Square here to commemorate the International Day of Yoga.
The Consulate General of India in New York along with The Times Square Alliance commemorated the 8th International Yoga Day on Tuesday with the theme ‘Yoga for Humanity’ at Times Square, considered the crossroads of the world.
Addressing the large gathering of yoga practitioners and participants from various nationalities, Swami Avdheshanand, the guest of honor at the event, said that the COVID-19 “pandemic has shown as how temporary everything is, and that material objects cannot give us true happiness” .
“To be in a state of permanent happiness, we have to turn our consciousness inward. That’s when we experience true inner joy and peace.
“Yoga helps us connect with our true selves. If one practices duly and regularly, the mind becomes steady and calm. When we are peaceful inside, we can help solve conflicts and co-exist peacefully,” he said.
“We may all belong to different races, but in reality, we are tributaries of a large river,” he said.
Today’s gathering truly displays the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, which means the world is one family, Swami Avdheshanand said.
“In other words, it is only through mutual respect and cooperation that we can create a peaceful community,” he said.
India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal highlighted the popular and global embrace of yoga around the world.
Referring to the ‘Lifestyle for the Environment’ — LiFE movement launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaiswal urged participants to join this mission for a better tomorrow, to nourish the planet, to live a sustainable life which is in harmony with nature.
Swami Avdheshanand, who traveled from India for the International Yoga Day commemorations, said that he brings the practice of yoga firmness of mind.
“Such a mind is not easily excited or easily depressed. That’s why mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are cured by yoga,” he said.
He further emphasized that yoga is not just a physical exercise and there is more to it, and added that Yoga does require a lot of practice and discipline and the key is to be regular.
He also expressed gratitude to Jaiswal, the Consulate and Jaipur Foot USA Chairman Prem Bhandari for inviting him at Times Square for the yoga day celebrations.
Bhandari said that a video of yoga released by Swami Avdheshan and has been viewed over 54 crore times.
“This is a “YogKranti” or Yoga revolution,” Bhandari said as he thanked Swami Avdheshanand for this video and noted that “this is the results of the tireless efforts” of Prime Minister Modi.
Yoga and meditation session was conducted by renowned Yoga expert Ruchika Lal of the Art of Living Foundation followed by several rounds of yoga sessions, with thousands of people attending the day-long celebrations.
Leading up to the June 21 commemoration, the Consulate General of India in New York partnered with several community organizations to celebrate the 8th International Day of Yoga coinciding with the 75th year of India’s independence.
The month-long yoga celebrations hosted by the Consulate commenced on June 1 with World Yoga Festival by the World Yoga Community.
Indo-American Arts and Cultural Forum held a yoga session in association with the Center for the Women of New York on June 4 at Bayside, New York.
Community members turned up in large numbers for the Yoga Cruise on East River on June 12 which was organized by the World Vegan Vision.
YuVa Shakti discussed benefits of yoga for people with advanced age through virtual session on June 17. Yoga sessions were also held in Hindi on June 18 and 19 by Vihangam Yoga.
The Consulate also partnered with Buffalo-Niagara Tamil Mandram and Indian Associations of Buffalo to organize the International Day of Yoga at the Goat Island of Niagara Falls State Park on June 19, the first time that Yoga Day was celebrated on the American side of the world’s most famous waterfall.
Members of Buffalo Network of Religious Communities, an organization comprising members of different religious groups, participated in the yoga celebrations which also brought together Indian students studying in various universities in Buffalo and children.
At the Times Square event, a variety of holistic health, Ayurvedic and nature-based wellness products from various parts of India were also on display.
The Consulate said that yoga’s contribution towards health is complemented by some of the traditional products and superfoods from aspirational district of India which are being showcased to the world under the ‘One District One Product’ initiative of the Government of India, taking Indian products from each district of the country to people across the globe.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)