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6th International YOGA Day celebrations in Australia

June 20,2020 

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Interview with Indian High Commissioner to Australia HE A Gitesh Sarma.


How would your Excellency rate the response to the Webinar? Would webinar be considered a way to bring yoga to the community more often?


In the changed circumstances where self-isolation and social distancing has become the norm, digital techniques are also relevant for organising meetings, seminars, workouts and other activities.  It can therefore also be used effectively to spread knowledge and practice of yoga.  Even after the situation has become more normal, such technologies can continue to play a useful role in spreading knowledge of Yoga and for promoting a healthy and stress-free life style.   


From your personal perspective, what is the significance of yoga in today’s climate?


 I am happy to note that Yoga is popular in Australia.  In this pandemic situation, it is particularly important to take care of one’s physical and emotional well-being.   Yoga is not only a physical exercise but a practice, which creates harmony between body, mind and soul. Along with Yoga, the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine can also play an important role in promoting a healthy and stress-free life as it is based on the principle that health and wellness involve a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit.  In fact, there has been an increase in mental stress in these times. 


Are there plans to promote yoga to specific age groups, children and seniors, especially? This could particularly help seniors to not only take up appropriate level of yoga but also to engage with the community better.


Due to the restrictions of social distancing, High Commission and our Consulates are carrying out Yoga related activities through webinars and other electronic means.  It is important to be safe.  There is a strong case for Yoga.  Age specific Yoga sessions are useful.



The High Commission is supporting the ‘International Yoga Day’ every year in the capital cities.  Are there any plans to promote the webinar-based program to regional Australia?


High Commission does consider important to organize IYD related activities in various regions of Australia.  Digital means will help in reaching out to such communities.  


Given the general understanding that yoga and meditation taught by a guru/teacher is more effective than self-taught yoga or meditation, would the High Commission be willing to consider sponsoring different kinds of yoga taught by Indian-based teachers through webinars in Australia?  


Yoga in Australia is very popular and there are already many institutions and organizations involved in disseminating Yoga knowledge and practice through various means.  The High Commission would be happy to consider supporting efforts in further strengthening such initiatives.  The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Sydney, is actively involved in promoting Yoga in Australia.  Here, the use of digital means allows to us to reach out to a larger audience, including in rural areas.



What is your personal experience with yoga? Is there a specific kind of yoga that you have found more useful than the others?


Yoga has a crucial role to play in the well-being of mankind.  Practicing Yoga and inculcating Ayurveda based lifestyle would certainly help in achieving the most desired balance and transformation in the lives of people.  In addition to other Yoga exercises, breathing techniques like Pranayama, are beneficial.  They can be practiced almost anywhere.  I find that such exercises also promote mental peace in a stressful world.


- Our NRI Reporter Govind Raj



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