Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zimbabweans yesterday joined India in celebrating International Yoga Day in Harare, an event which has since earned global recognition, as it is widely regarded as beneficial for curing various ailments pertaining to lifestyle and fitness through physical activities.
Indians regard yoga as one of the most effective methods of establishing a connection between the body and mind since time immemorial.
It is a type of exercise that is performed through diet, breathing and physical posture for the relaxation of body and mind and was recognised by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014.
In an address, India’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Rungsung Masakui said the day was an art of living meant to bring harmony between the physical and spiritual being together with his environment. He said there was need for greater collaboration between Zimbabwe and India to ensure yoga could be celebrated across the country considering the immense benefits it has on one’s health.
“International Day of Yoga was started in 2015 at the initiative of my Prime Minister and UN General Assembly, to declare 21 June as the day to mark it,” said Mr Masakui. “Yoga, it is the practice of physical, mind and spirit, so it is a harmony of spirit not only within our body, but with the environment. It is a style of living which is not only preventive, but curative. My Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) gives a lot of importance to this occasion.
“Every year, my Prime Minister sends out a request to all Heads of State and Government across the world, including President Mnangagwa, to support the event. The practice of yoga is to bring direct benefit to our health and it goes further to harmonise our minds and spirit.”
Mr Masakui said there was need to have the event cascade to schools, adding that he will engage the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to find ways of infusing it.
“If we can work with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, if we can take these practice to schools and if we can create awareness to benefit our people in our schools, it is about raising awareness on health living not only in Harare, but across the country,” said Ambassador Masakui.
Harare City Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba said he will ensure that India partnered with the 30 council schools in the city.
“As you know, we have around 33 schools, we would like to partner with the Indian embassy to enable more people to enjoy Yoga,” he said. “It allows them to be fit, it reduces strength and allows them to improve their cognitive understanding of issues.
“Going forward we are going to partner with them and avail places for them to do Yoga for the public to access and enjoy as well. We were thinking around availing Africa Unity Square the next phase of the International Yoga Day so that it is open and easily accessed..
“We would want our teachers to be trained. When we were young and going to school we used to have Physical Education, that made us fit and be able to overcome stress. Through Yoga if we are able to train our teachers, they will be able teach school children and impart skills to them and catch them young.”
The event was attended by senior Government officials, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and sports personalities.