India not using yoga to colonise but unite the world: Envoy

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Accra (Ghana), June 13 IANS) India has no intention of using yoga ‘to culturally colonise the world’, Indian High Commissioner in Accra Birender Singh Yadav has said, stressing that the message behind yoga is ‘harmony and peace’ which is necessary to provide some solution to the current global crisis.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the celebration of this year’s International Day of Yoga on June 21, Yadav said, ‘Yoga practice is a unifier to bring people closer, and it is needed in today’s world if we must find solutions to the problems in the Middle East and that of Boko Haram in Nigeria.’

‘Yoga brings messages of harmony and peace, brings people together as well as preaches a message of harmony and peace to the world. Therefore, if India can use this to heal the world, it should not be seen as an attempt to colonise the world culturally,’ he added.

Yadav said yoga is a discipline based on an extremely subtle science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. ‘It is an art and science for healthy living,’ he added.

He said yoga has nothing to do with religion as some people believe, but rather it ‘unites people’ and helps to reduce expenditure through the prevention of diseases that are associated with life-styles, including hypertension.

Stating that yoga was gaining popularity in the country after the celebration of the first and second International Days of Yoga, he said it is for this reason that the High Commission had joined hands with Ghana’s Ministry of Youth and Sports to celebrate this year’s event to enable the youth in Ghana to learn more about the benefits of yoga to keep the body healthy.

Technical Advisor to Ghana’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, debunked the idea held by some Ghanaians that yoga is a religion and not a physical and mental activity that keeps the body healthy.

Owusu-Ansah, who is close to 70 years, said yoga has kept him away from hospital for the past 40 years since he has been practising it. ‘I have not fallen sick and have not been absent from work for the past 40 years that l have practised this noble art,’ he said.

He advocated the practice of yoga by Ghanaians which he said, would keep them healthy and fit. ‘It would reduce expenditure that the government spends on the prevention of diseases because those of us who have been practising it know its usefulness to keep the body sound,’ Owusu-Ansah said.

The United Nations General Assembly approved a Resolution co-sponsored by 177 countries to celebrate June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.

(Francis Kokutse can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

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