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Ambassador's address on the occasion of Sixth International Day of Yoga 2020.

Posted on: June 22, 2020 | Back | Print

Address at 6th International Day of Yoga

Sofia, 21 June 2020

Namaskar, Dober Den,

It gives me immense pleasure to welcome each one of you this morning to celebrate the 6th International Day of Yoga. I am delighted to note that such a large number of people in Bulgaria and North Macedonia, representing a wide cross-section of age groups and coming from all walks of life, have tuned in to watch this event.

2. As many of you may know, on the 11th of December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly had unanimously decided that the 21st of June every year, which is the day of the summer solstice, would be celebrated as the International Day of Yoga. This was an initiative spearheaded by India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the UNGA resolution to this effect was co-sponsored by a record 177 countries including Bulgaria and North Macedonia.

3. Thereafter, in December 2016, Yoga was inscribed as a “human treasure” in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

4. So why is the world paying so much attention to Yoga? Well, Yoga is the ancient Indian art and science of healthy living. It provides a holistic approach to well-being – physical, mental and spiritual. Some people see yoga as India’s gift to the world while others jokingly call it India’s most popular export. But the fact is, yoga is a shared heritage of entire mankind. It is ancient wisdom with contemporary relevance.

5. In our present-day fast-paced lifestyles, yoga has become increasingly popular as a path to guarding both wellness and fitness. It is not just stretching and exercises but also breathing and relaxation as well as meditation, concentration of the mind and the ability of letting go. It reduces stress and anxiety as well as aches and pains and protects us from life-style diseases, while improving general health, performance and the enjoyment of our daily lives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Yoga has become even more relevant as a means of staying physically fit and mentally balanced while being socially distanced.

6. Yoga helps achieve harmony between the mind and body as well as between mankind and nature. For the individual it provides equanimity and equilibrium. A person at peace with himself or herself is at peace with the world. As the world embraces Yoga in a big way, we hope that it will contribute to improving global health and herald a calmer era of peace, compassion and brotherhood. To quote Prime Minister Modi, Yoga unites, it assimilates, it heals.

7. The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated with great fanfare across the world since 2015, especially in Bulgaria and North Macedonia. Last year, 40 cities and 3 villages in Bulgaria held Yoga Day events while Skopje was the hub in North Macedonia. Over 15,000 people participated in events which took place at iconic locations such as the National Palace of Culture in Sofia and Macedonia Square in Skopje and at a multitude of other public locations and yoga centres.

8. As our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has noted, IDY 2020 comes at a time when humankind is waging a spirited battle to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. While previous Yoga Days have focused on mass events, the theme of the 6th International Day of Yoga is ‘Yoga from Home’ and ‘Yoga with Family’ to enable everyone to participate safely and bond with their loved ones while doing so. The vibrant and timeless tradition of Yoga personifies unity, community and immunity; immunity being the most important in today’s context.

9. This year, International Yoga Day events are being held across 38 cities, towns and villages in Bulgaria and several locations in North Macedonia, making it yet again a truly mass celebration. As the events are taking place mostly online, people from dozens of other locations will also be able to join in.

10.Today’s live-streamed programme includes a variety of activities such as yoga-abhyas, meditation and relaxation sessions including for special categories such as children, expectant mothers and the elderly as well as lectures and workshops on Yoga and Ayurveda. In addition, we will showcase participants and prize winners of the #MyYogaMyLife video blogging competition and “Let’s Do Yoga” children’s painting competition.

11. The enthusiasm of Bulgarians and North Macedonians for Yoga is contagious and worth emulating. I can confidently say that I do more Yoga now than I did before coming to Bulgaria. 12. I would especially like to express my sincere gratitude to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bulgaria, H.E. Mr. Boyko Borissov, for his gracious message of support to International Yoga Day 2020. I would also like to thank other senior dignitaries and celebrities who have contributed messages of support for the 6th Yoga Day, which we will play for you during the course of this programme.

13. The success of this event would not have been possible without the untiring efforts of the Bulgarian Yoga Federation and participating yoga centres, the Bulgarian Yoga Association, the East West Indological Foundation, Association India, Devam Foundation, Art of Living, Bulgarian Ayurveda Association and other supporting organizations as well as a large number of volunteers. My deep appreciation to them all.

14. Finally, my sincere thanks to all of you for joining ustodayto make the International Yoga Day 2020 celebrations truly special. Please stay with us and enjoy the day with your family and loved ones.

Thank you. Blogu-dariya-vi. Dhanyawad.