The Indian Consulate’s International Day of Yoga (IDY) celebrations began a day early. The mission marked the day – which is celebrated on June 21 – on Saturday at its premises in Dubai in the presence of a few yoga enthusiasts amid strict social distancing protocol. The mission streamed the one-hour session live on its social media channels.
Addressing the session, Consul-General of India in Dubai Vipul said yoga can play an important role in coming out of the pandemic situation.
Different groups in the UAE have extended support to virtual celebrations of IDY 2020. This year’s yoga day is being observed at home virtually with the theme: ‘Yoga at home, yoga with family’.
Kamal Vachani, chairman of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) for Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said: “Due to the contagious nature of coronavirus, no mass gathering would be held this year. GOPIO encourages people to practice yoga at their homes, along with the entire family. This year, yoga is more important than ever as it strengthens the immunity and respiratory systems.”
In 2019, more than 4,000 people from different nationalities attended the yoga day celebrations held by the Indian Consulate in Dubai. GOPIO was among the organisations which had supported the celebrations.
Schools in the UAE are adopting an inclusive approach as more participation is expected online.
Punit MK Vasu, CEO, The Indian High Group of Schools, said: “Students, parents and staff, including drivers, conductors and nannies, will be participating in the live yoga sessions on Sunday to celebrate the International Day of Yoga. A live performance of a variety of asanas and yogs by our expert instructors will be broadcast from the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium in Oud Metha. This year we are taking yoga to everyone’s homes with structured live sessions led by our expert instructors online to give a unique experience of peace and tranquillity from the comforts and safety of one’s home.”
Special online sessions
Yoga companies in the UAE are also trying to make the day dynamic and vibrant. Ravi Seshadri, yoga teacher at Bharat Thakur Artistic Yoga, pointed out: “We have planned a few things. In the UAE, we are conducting a special session titled ‘Healing through meditation’.
“Our trainers in London, Baku, Russia, UAE, Nepal, and India are holding separate online sessions for our students. Our members are already carrying out online studio, private and corporate sessions with us. They will join us on this day for our special sessions.” He cautioned the yogis with certain dos and don’ts this year, while adding handy tips to maintain one’s mental well-being. Seshadri added: “Be careful not to exert yourself and raise your heartbeat while wearing masks. Do care for yourself, and do asana, pranayam and meditation at least three times a week as this will keep you mentally agile and cheerful, protecting you from depression.”
Full of fervour
Yoga enthusiasts in UAE are upbeat about their IYD plans despite the Covid-19 restrictions. Dubai resident Fazela Hozefa Jhabuawala, who is a passionate yogi, said: “Every year, I used to go to the Burhani Masjid in Qusais for a group yoga session to mark this day but this year that will not happen. So I am going to miss the human interaction that used to happen on this occasion. But I am a physiotherapist by profession and believe in maintaining an active lifestyle. Therefore, on Sunday I and my son will do yoga together by participating with other members online. I also have a yoga page on Facebook that I will update with photos and videos.”
Abu Dhabi resident Amanda Newmark, who is a yoga therapist, said: “Since the public beaches are still closed in Abu Dhabi, there will be no beach yoga this year. I used to attend different festivals and ‘open practice’ sessions that used to typically happen around this time. Last year, I was in Bali for this event. But this year, it’s mostly going to be online. So, everyone must do yoga not just on this particular day but every day as a habit.
Don’t be focused on what’s happening on social media and what perfect pictures people are posting there. Do it for yourself, it helps you to reflect inwards. It’s a day that brings people’s awareness back to yoga – balancing the mind, body and spirit.”