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Yoga brings thousands together in celebrating India’s ‘gift to humanity’

Thousands of Durban residents came out, including learners, to celebrate the International Day of Yoga at the People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium, yesterday. Picture: Steven Makhanya

Thousands of Durban residents came out, including learners, to celebrate the International Day of Yoga at the People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium, yesterday. Picture: Steven Makhanya

Published Jun 22, 2023


Durban — Indian Consul General Dr Thelma John David said she was proud and happy that the people of Durban heard her clarion call and came out in their numbers to celebrate and embrace International Day of Yoga.

International Day of Yoga was proclaimed by the UN and embraced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.

“Close to 4 000 participants are gathered here this morning to celebrate with us this year’s International Day of Yoga, which is our Indian gift to the residents of eThekwini, and we are proud that so many came out to engage in this wellness programme.

“Today (Wednesday) makes this the 9th year since its inception,” David said.

Swami Maitreyi and Swami Vedanand Saraswati looked fabulous in their attire, ready to celebrate the great day of yoga, with the multitudes of Durban residents at the People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium. Picture: Steven Makhanya

People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium was a kaleidoscope of colour and hive of activity, as young and old residents of eThekwini gathered to celebrate the event.

“Durban has been a warm and welcoming host for us, and we are happy to have become part of its harmonious and homogeneous community.

“Today (Wednesday) we also celebrate the bilateral relations that exist between India and South Africa, which have a long history of inter-relationships between the two economies.

“Durban being bordered by the Indian Ocean, which is the biggest and main engine for the Indian people and its economic well-being, this makes our bond even stronger,” she added.

“We are one, India and South Africa, and this International Day of Yoga celebrations, which is India’s gift to humanity, helps to solidify our relations,” said David.

Former MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay, front left, and Indian Consulate-General Dr Thelma John David, front right) engage in yoga routines, with hundreds that came out to celebrate the International Day of Yoga, at the People’s Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday. Picture: Steven Makhanya

Former KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay, said yoga had been able to unite the peoples of the world who embraced it as one family.

“We need to reach out and build unity. We need our leaders to think about the welfare of everybody. That is why we cannot divorce ourselves from what is happening in the rest of the world.

“We must be quite frank that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is affecting all of us, and what is happening in Sudan is affecting many people in Africa.”

Pillay said what was more worrying was that this conflict between Russia and Ukraine could get worse if sanity did not prevail.

Blessed are the peacemakers, he added because they see the world as one family. If the world can be one family, then we are concerned with the welfare of all, and yoga and its principles strengthen our abilities to ensure all of that.

“It is scientifically proven that yoga improves mental health, improves flexibility, reduces stress, promotes calmness and helps prevent sickness, which is a powerful tool to have.

“It provides calmness and clarity of thought, which can help in finding solutions, and work towards implementation in a sustainable way,” Pillay stated.

Sisters Thami Malatsi, of Fafa Beach, South Coast, and Noma Mnguni, of Malvern, said they had embraced yoga as their lifestyle and were happy to be part of the momentous celebrations. Picture: Steven Makhanya

Sisters Thami Malatsi and Noma Mnguni said they practised yoga every day at home and had adopted it as their lifestyle.

“We live it, we breathe it,” the sisters sang in unison.

Rosemary Pillai of Phoenix said the yoga exercises were good, and the atmosphere was exhilarating because of all the positive people who came to celebrate with the Indian Consul General and heard her call for the residents of Durban to embrace the day that yoga was earmarked for multitudes to keep fit, both in body and in mind.

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