Durban and International Day of Yoga

Durban’s contribution to the International Day of Yoga

DURBAN will continue to embrace International Yoga Day by taking part in the 10th global celebrations in June.  

The International Day of Yoga (IDY) has been celebrated across the world annually on June 21 since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2014, with displays, demonstrations and exhibitions. Durban has been involved every year. The celebtaions this year will take place at the Amphitheatre on Saturday June 22. 

South Africa’s chief coordinator, philanthropic entrepreneur Ishwar Ramlutchman said “We have achieved a pivotal milestone in highlighting, promoting and hosting the international day of yoga in the name of calling for peace, social cohesion and racial reconciliation with our diverse and demographic population of 62-million. The Durban celebration appeals to all 10-million of KwaZulu-Natal’s people. Yoga is our new pillar of peace.”

More than 300 yoga enthusiasts and tutors attended the 10th anniversary launch at the Durban Jewish Club.

Ramlutchman said the atmosphere at the launch  blended well with the IDY’s 2024 universal theme of humanity, harmony and peace.

Ramlutchman said a communiqué would be dispatched to the United Nations about the growth and development of yoga in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal. “The success of the launch augurs well for the major celebration. We are working with government and community stakeholders to ensure that thousands of men, women, youth and children will embrace yoga and practice this holistic mental and physical exercise as a way towards leading better lifestyles, promoting peace and living in harmony with other racial, religious and cultural groups.”

A yoga outreach would be run in the weeks leading to the celebration: “We are committed to taking yoga to the grassroots level across all communities to promote peace, tolerance and humanity.”

Ramlutchman said the day was a global movement and celebration aimed at creating public awareness about the holistic nature of yoga. “In these turbulent times of socio-economic handicaps and political tensions, we want to encourage all our diverse cultural, religious and race groups to include yoga into their daily lives and lifestyle routines,” said Ramlutchman.

Yoga is a mental and spiritual practice rooted in India’s resilient Vedic traditions dating back 5 000 years. About two billion people worldwide practice yoga regularly. Yoga is a  unique spiritual philosophy and religious tradition.

Durban drew 2 340 participants to the 2023 event. The 2024 event will fall over two days. Ramlutchman said the UN would be invited to fly its blue flag at the Durban event.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and keep-fit champion Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo supported the event. Dhlomo said: “We have joined hands to raise awareness of the many benefits of practicing yoga as one of the physical activities that promote health and mental well-being. Yoga is aligned to the health department`s mission of promoting a long and healthy life for all through the prevention of non-communicable diseases. People around the world embrace yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated, and to manage mental health challenges including stress and depression which are known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. Yoga is more than a physical activity, but a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. It plays an important role in increasing blood flow, muscle strength and tone, maintaining a balanced metabolism, and gradually contributes to weight reduction and improves mobility in people with lower back pain.’’

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi competed in eight of the previous yoga day events Buthelezi had said: “’Yoga is much more than a form of exercise. It is an ancient practice that promotes physical, mental and spiritual balance. It is wonderful that South Africa, and particularly Durban, has embraced the marking of International Yoga Day through this mass demonstration of yoga.’’

MARLAN PADAYACHEE is a still-practicing and seasoned journalist and photographer, former political, diplomatic and foreign correspondent, currently a media strategist, consulting editor, freelance journalist and publisher at MapMedia GreenGold Consulting (Pty) Limited; recipient, 2021 Ammen Award for Excellence in Media, member, International Federation of Journalists, Southern African Freelancers’ Association (SAFREA), SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF), and Institute for the Advancement of Journalists, recipient, USIS International Visitor and British Council Fellow and Life Member, Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (Gopio International), board member, RK Khan Hospital  (2001-2022).

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