International Day of Yoga during and after Covid-19
This year, Yoga in Daily Life practitioners celebrated International Day of Yoga differently. With many countries trying to stop the spread of Covid-19 by introducing social distancing into daily life, the usual ways people could come together to practice yoga had to change.
However, in these difficult circumstances, we were able to see how it is truly possible to manage stress and relieve worries with the wonderful set of tools called Yoga in Daily Life (YIDL).
Although we could no longer go to our yoga studios and ashrams, or participate in group yoga classes, we could adapt the wisdom and experience that we've learnt from our yoga instructors and develop our home practice. And despite being isolated during the lockdowns, we were not alone – we could participate in new online yoga classes and online satsangs, and we could experience that practising yoga is indeed a powerful tool for dealing with loneliness, anxiety and depression, through boosting the immune system and strengthening physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.
We will no doubt remember the stories and experiences of this extraordinary year, but our enthusiasm towards celebrating International Day of Yoga (IDY) in 2020 was not taken away by the circumstances of Covid-19, it is perhaps even enhanced by it.
Below are just a few of the special YIDL events around the world held on the weekend of 20-21 June, to mark the occasion in those places where people were able to gather together again after months of lockdown. In many other locations, still under restrictions, there were online YIDL classes of yoga asanas, pranayama, meditation, yoga nidra, and Q&A sessions, offering both experience and insight into the benefits of Yoga for people of all ages and backgrounds.
On the 21st of June in Jadan Ashram, all of nature woke up to a peaceful, sunny morning. Jadan karma yogis (volunteers) gathered on the dining veranda and followed the instructions of Vishwaguru Swami Maheshwarananda, founder of YIDL, who led a gentle yoga class for the participants. Vishwaguruji reminded us that yoga practice should not torture the body and that even simple gentle stretching has an immensely positive effect on the body.
In the afternoon, after the yoga class, Vishwaguruji contributed a speech to an online webinar organized by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences, which involved several leading yoga masters and teachers, and was supported by the High Commission of India.
This year the International Day of Yoga (IDY) was celebrated in the Culture Hall of the Yoga in Daily Life Ashram in Rijeka, on the Adriatic coast.
Although the plan was to have the program outside in the ashram park, due to rain, it was brought indoors and with care taken to keep recommended distance between practitioners. The Mayor of Rijeka, Mr Vojko Obersnel, attended the event and greeted everyone saying that every time he comes to the ashram he feels the positive energy of the place and people who are practicing.
Mr J.N. Majhi, Counsellor from the Indian Embassy, said that he is very pleased that this year the International Day of Yoga events were organized with the support of the Department of Public Health, stating that the whole world gains benefits through practicing yoga. There were also representatives of the Health Department of City of Rijeka and representatives of various media outlets.
Serbia, Novi Sad
On the 20th of June, a local Novi Sad senior yoga teacher and long term disciple of Yoga in Daily Life held a lecture titled 'Yoga and 4 forms of health'. The lecture was very well attended, and the atmosphere was very pleasant. After the lecture, free promotional yoga classes were offered – with so many people attending that they had to be divided into two practice halls.
The next morning on Sunday 21 June, another free yoga class was held inside the yoga centre due to rain outside, with plans for outdoor yoga practice in one of the Novi Sad parks postponed to Sunday 28 June.
Czech Republic, Střílky
International Day of Yoga was celebrated in Střílky Ashram on Saturday 20 June 2020. The rain was not an obstacle for 130 people to attend the event, in which a sunny atmosphere prevailed. Participants were welcomed by Sadhvi Parvatiji and by the local mayor Viktor Ganjuškin in the name of Střílky village.
People of all generations enjoyed the rich program. The main schedule included a yoga lesson for adults, led by Swami Umapuri; a yoga lesson for children; and a lecture about healthy vegetarian diet from Mr Jaroslav Škvařil.
An information booth for the Ayurveda Academy of Yoga in Daily Life was also available, for guests to learn more about this ancient medical science, and a benefit concert for the Helping Hands Jadan Project was played on piano by Lana Genc at the Tilak vegetarian restaurant, across the road from the ashram.
Groups of Yoga in Daily Life practitioners celebrated International Day of Yoga outdoors at parks in Chengdu City and on the island province of Hainan. And those individuals in the city of Wuhan who were still under lockdown restrictions practiced at home instead.
Despite a cloudy sky, and some lockdown restrictions still in place, members of the local Yoga in Daily Life group were able to practice together outdoors in the park, with suitable distancing, on the occasion of IDY.
For the celebration of International Day of Yoga, all Yoga in Daily Life centres around Australia offered free yoga programs at their locations and offered a joint, online whole-day event. The event was also supported by the High Commission of India in Australia. Since the number of participants in physical locations was restricted by government guidelines, we had a maximum of 15 participants onsite at each location. However, many joined us online, either for the whole schedule, or for the parts of it, so that during the course of the day, more than a hundred people celebrated the International Day of Yoga with Yoga in Daily Life Australia.
At 9.00 am the celebration was officially opened by Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda Puriji, the author of Yoga in Daily Life System, with a short lecture on yoga:
“Blessed Selves, all dear friends, sisters, brothers and yogis, my salutation to all for this occasion of the International Day of Yoga. We are so happy that we can worship this day of Yoga. Yoga is the science for our ‘Annamayakosha’, ‘Pranamayakosha’, ‘Manomayakosha’, ‘Vigyanmayakosha’ and ‘Anandmayakosha’ (physical body, body of energy, body of mind, body of intellect, and causal body) given by God to all humans to use for their good health, happiness, harmony, joy and success in the life. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is created by guru, because God appears through holy saints, holy persons. The gurus, teachers, are necessary to bring us to the perfections in numerous techniques of Yoga and Sanatan Dharma principles, that are given to all humans. Every guru has their disciples, techniques, and name of their school. Therefore, every school, master and their techniques need to be equally respected, under the principle ‘all in one and one in all’. Yoga is only one, it is the science of human consciousness, and by different gurus it is presented under different names, so we should respect them all equally. Therefore, respect and adore your lineage, your guru and your guru’s guru and so on. You might think that the Master dies, but he doesn’t die, he is always with us. Om shanti, shanti, shanti.”
9.15-10.00 – Yoga in Daily Life Melbourne streamed a class based on the IDY Common Yoga Protocol.
9.15-10.00 – Yoga in Daily Life Brisbane taught a class based on Level 2 of the Yoga in Daily Life System, at Waterfront Park, Newstead, Brisbane.
At 10.00 and 12.30 – Mahamandaleshwar Swami Jasraj Puri chanted, translated and explained the two mantras Samgacchadhvam Samvadadhvam and Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, followed by a short meditation to allow the vibration of the chanting to radiate in our inner space and take the form of a prayer in our hearts.
11.00 - 11.45 – Yoga in Daily Life Sunshine Coast led Level 3 practice, on a beautiful sunny day in Pierce Park, Alexandra Parade, Cotton Tree, Maroochydore.
11.45 - 12.30 there was a class in Yoga in Daily Life Sydney Ashram, where Bari Khatu Pranam and Kathu Pranam with peace mantras were practiced.
This event was opened by Mr Ramanand Garge, the Director of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre of General Consulate of India in Sydney. After the class, participants and representatives from the Indian Consulate enjoyed a traditional Indian meal and chai.
12.45 - 13.30 (10.45 - 11.30 local time in WA) – a beautiful yoga class with teachers from Yoga in Daily Life Perth, Sarva Hitta Asanas from Level 1 of Yoga in Daily Life System.
13.30 – 14.15 – Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) and meditation from Yoga in Daily Life Adelaide.
14.15 – 14.50 – an incredible demonstration of Level 8 asanas performed by teachers from Yoga in Daily Life Tasmania, after which Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda Puriji, the author of Yoga in Daily Life System, officially closed the event with a special message.