In the morning of 17 June 2023, High Commission of India and Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), the cultural arm of the High Commission, in collaboration with various yoga institutes organised a yoga event at the iconic Independence Square in Colombo to mark the 9th International Day of Yoga (IDY).
The event saw participation of nearly a thousand people including the special invitees: Hon. Dr. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Education; Hon. Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Transport & Highways and Mass Media; Hon. Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Hon. Sisira Jayakody, State Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Hon. A. Aravindh Kumar, State Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan, State Minister of Higher Education. High Commissioner of India, H.E. Gopal Baglay, officials and staff of the High Commission, students, police personnel, members of the Indian community and yoga enthusiasts in Sri Lanka also participated. The event was organised in partnership with Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka with hundreds of traditional medicine doctors and practitioners joining the programme.
The event at Independence Square commenced with prayers by the Chief Priest of the Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena in Ratmalana, Most Venerable Dr. Maitipe Wimalasera Thero, invoking the blessings of the Buddha for humanity’s overall wellbeing. The highlight of the programme was a 20-minutes long Yoga and Meditation Session for the participants conducted by experts from 25 eminent Yoga institutes of Sri Lanka, such as Astanka Yoga Mandir, Ashtanga Yoga Lanka, Aum Kriya Babaji Yoga Aranyam, Brahma Kumari Raja Yoga Centre, Hatha Yoga Centre, Institute of Human Excellence, Rhythmic Yoga Academy, The Art of Living, Yoga for Divine Life, Rama Krishna Mission, Sethsada Yoga Nikethanaya, University of Colombo, University of Kelaniya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and SVCC. This was followed by an Advanced Yoga Performance by a group of children from Mayurapathy Sri Bhadrakali Temple.
In the run-up to International Day of Yoga 2023, SVCC in collaboration with government institutions, yoga organisations and local partners, organised over 90 Yoga events, workshops, lectures and demonstrations for different age-groups and professions across the island. These events are an effort towards reinforcing the significance of the shared heritage of Yoga for holistic wellbeing among the people of Sri Lanka
IDY 2023 celebrations at Independence Square in Colombo formed a part of the special feature of IDY 2023 that brings together countries from ‘Arctic to Antarctic’, connecting them through the practice of yoga. High Commission of India will also organise another yoga event at the Port of Colombo on 21 June 2023, thereby joining the ‘Global Ocean Ring’ as a unique initiative marking IDY 2023. This year’s IDY celebrations resonate with the theme of India’s ongoing Presidency of the G20, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.
It may be recalled that the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, piloted by India in 2014, proclaiming June 21 each year as the ‘International Day of Yoga’. The resolution was supported by more than 170 countries, with Sri Lanka being one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.