The High Commission of India and the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Colombo joined hands with the Sri Lankan Armed Forces to celebrate the 7th ‘International Yoga Day’ today (21 June) at a special Yoga session, organized in the virtual mode. The Secretary of Defence of Sri Lanka, General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne was the Chief Guest at event, which was also attended by the Chief of Defence Staff & Commander of Army, General Shavendra Silva and around 500 defence personnel from about 150 defence establishments across Sri Lanka, including the Kotelawala Defence University, Training schools, defence academies, ships etc.
Commencing the event, the Chief Priest and Director of the Param Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena in Ratmalana Most Venerable Dr Maitape Wimalasera Thero, invoked the blessings of the Buddha for overall wellbeing of everyone. The messages of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and Hon’ble President of Sri Lanka, H.E Gotabaya Rajapaksa, inspiring everyone to follow the tradition of Yoga due to its numerous benefits, were shared with the participants. In his message, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the relevance of this year’s theme of Yoga Day, ‘Yoga for Wellness’ in the current Covid-19 situation. He underscored that with its inherent power to connect, Yoga is good for community, immunity and unity. In his message, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa mentioned that Yoga is a precious, beautiful gift from the treasures of spiritual traditions and practices of Indian sages over millenia, which has touched the lives of generations of people all over the world.
High Commissioner called on everyone to embrace Yoga as a ‘Way of Life’ to improve flexibility and mindfulness and thanked everyone for joining the High Commission for commemorating this day.
Due to Covid-19 -related travel restrictions imposed this year, all events to mark the International Day of Yoga are being held in the virtual mode. In the run up to the IDY, a number of free online Yoga sessions were organized by SVCC, in May-June 2021. These sessions focused on wellness and therapeutic Yoga, in line with the theme for this year’s IDY. On June 20, 2021, a special Yoga session was organized at the Param Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena in Ratmalana, at which a special message from the High Commissioner, in Sinhala language, was shared with the participants.
Since 2015, every year, the High Commission of India celebrates the International Day of Yoga in Sri Lanka with great fervour, with the participation of the Sri Lankan leadership and public. Average footfall for the event over the years has been in thousands. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, close to around 7000 participants attended various online events that were organized this year for the 7th International Day of Yoga.
Source – High Commission of India, Colombo / 21 June 2021