Poland celebrates Second International Yoga Day

Warsaw, June 19 (IANS) Thousands of people on Sunday celebrated the Second International Yoga Day in Poland, a country where yoga has become a way of life for many Poles.

The celebration was not limited to Warsaw, the Polish capital. Many big and small cities also marked the event, reports received here said.

Like last year, the main venue in Warsaw was a vast and beautiful park, Pole Mokotowskie, which a few thousand people thronged throughout the day to take part in the display of asanas or yoga technique.

Some Indian restaurants put up stalls to entice the Poles with Indian cuisine.

Indian ambassador Ajay Bisaria, a yoga student himself, led the campaign in the Polish capital since 10 a.m. Many diplomats from other countries joined the unique event.

Addressing the gathering, Bisaria expressed his deep satisfaction with the response of the people across the Polish nation.

“(Indian) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to make yoga a universal phenomenon is one of his biggest accomplishments,” he said.

The UN last year declared June 21 to be the International Day of Yoga.

“By practicing yoga, the policy makers of the world can generate more trust and confidence in one another. The world can overcome many unnecessary prejudices,” the Indian envoy said.

Janusz Krzyzowski, President of the Indo-Polish Cultural Committee, Warsaw, said: “Yoga is not confined to any particular religion, race or creed. It has universal appeal and a global reach.

“It prompts you to take an inner journey and helps you to maintain a balanced view of life and world.”

The event concluded with Indian dances performed by Natalia Pzybysz and her sister Paulina.

Similar events were also organised on Sunday in other Polish cities such as Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan, Lodz and Wroclaw.

In all, 21 cities opted to celebrate Yoga Day on June 19 because it was Sunday.

According to one estimate, there are more than 900 yoga schools in Poland. Most yoga instructors are Poles, who over the years have mastered this art from Indian teachers. Many have spent a few years in India.

Just in Warsaw, home to 1.9 million people, there are over 200 yoga schools.

The Indian embassy has been actively pursuing the idea of organising the Sunday event since April.

Assisting it were the Art of Living, the Indian Association in Poland (IAP), the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industries (IPCCI) and the India-Polish Cultural Committee (IPCC).

Many Poles were made yoga ambassadors to promote the event in the Polish media. There was unprecedented publicity both in the Polish newspapers and TV channels.

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) sent a yoga specialist, Kirti Gahlwat, to interact with Polish yoga teachers.

She conducted a few sessions with the general public also. “I could not have imagined that I will get such a positive response in Poland,” Gahlwat told IANS.

–IANS

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