Tuesday July 23, 2019

Celebrating the Spirit of Yoga: To mark International Yoga Day, Indian Embassy in Cairo organises Yoga at a park

The second International Day of Yoga coincided with the holy month of Ramadan and both of them celebrates the same spiritual aspirations of people

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A woman practicing yoga. Photo credit: Mona Abdel Karim
The Indian Embassy in Cairo played host to the second International Day of Yoga at the scenic Al-Azhar Park on June 21, 2016. The historical monuments — the minarets of famous mosques and the iconic Saladin Citadel — formed the perfect backdrop for the event that was held after Iftaar during the holy month of Ramadan.
It saw a participation of more than 1,500 yoga enthusiasts including politicians, businessmen, diplomats, media persons and members of the Indian community. Imaj Hassan Ahmed, Miss Earth Egypt 2015, was the chief guest of the event.
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Photo credit: Mona Abdel Karim
Highlighting the importance of the day that was celebrated on June 21 in 193 countries around the world, India’s Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya, said, “Yoga is India’s gift to humanity and in just a year’s time, it has gained immense popularity in the Land of Pyramids. The second International Day of Yoga coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, and they both promote the same spiritual aspirations of people.”
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He added that the holy month calls for self-control, spiritual development and aims at attaining peace of mind. “These concepts are in line with the core principles of yoga to achieve peace through meditation and self-discipline,” Bhattacharyya said.
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Photo credit: Mona Abdel Karim
As a thoughtful gesture, the Indian Embassy had scheduled the celebration in the evening as most people fast during the day. Organising the event after dusk saw the participation of Indians, Egyptians and other foreigners in large numbers.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Yoga was ‘Connect the Youth’. In tune with it, more than 400 school children, 40 yoga instructors and their students participated in the event and presented a  special performance based on yoga asanas. Even regular visitors of the park enthusiastically joined in the celebration.
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Photo credit: Mona Abdel Karim
A local music group performed a few instrumental songs that opened the spectacular event on Tuesday evening, June 21. The yoga instructors took turns in conducting a variety of meditation and exercise sessions to enthral those present at the venue. The Ambassador delivered the welcome address; it was followed by the chief guest’s speech. In her address, Miss Earth Egypt 2015 said, “Yoga has become popular all over the world because of its benefits. It helps us improve our behaviour towards ourselves and nature as well.”
The Common Yoga Protocol was played in Arabic, and all the participants enthusiastically performed yoga asanas. There were also many other activities including yoga dance, group yoga, circle yoga, advanced yoga, meditation, and cultural performances as part of the celebration.

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Ahmed Darwish, Chairman of the General Authority for Suez Canal Economic Zone, told that he is a recent convert to yoga and but though he is a late starter, he is a sincere practitioner.
In the run up to the second International Day of Yoga, the Indian Embassy had conducted an online photography competition titled “Yoga in Egypt”. A first-ever yoga championship was also organised by the Indian Embassy on June 5, 2016, under four categories, with the age of participants ranging from 4 to 72 years. The winners of the two competitions were awarded prizes during the event at Al-Azhar Park on June 21, 2016.
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Photo credit: Mona Abdel Karim
The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) in Cairo has been conducting yoga classes since 1993. But in the past few years, yoga has become quite popular in Egypt, and many gyms, clubs and organisations have started conducting yoga classes. The number of yoga schools in Egypt has increased threefold in the last one year, from 14 to 40. The growing popularity was reflected in the participation and support of a vast number of people at the International Day of Yoga event.
In addition to the ‘Yoga at the Park’ event held in Cairo, the Indian Embassy is organising such celebrations in two other Egyptian cities — ‘Yoga by the Suez Canal’ in Ismailia on June 23 and ‘Yoga at the Beach’ in Alexandria on June 25 — to mark the occasion.
Two more events — ‘Yoga by the Suez Canal’ in Ismailia on June 23 and ‘Yoga at the Beach’ in Alexandria on June 25 — will be held to celebrate the occasion

-by Shillpi A Singh, a freelance contributor at NewsGram. She can be contacted at shilpi.devsingh@gmail.com 

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Wow! Yoga in Cairo. There should be a twist with a little bit of their traditional dance moves 🙂

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What’s Common in Several Bollywood Divas? Find it out Here

Deepika Padukone: If you want to have a svelte figure like Deepika Padukone, then the formula is a mix of cardio, gym, dance and yoga

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What ties Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Jacqueline Fernandez and Alia Bhatt together? Their love for yoga.

The Bollywood divas credit their fitness level to their yoga routine. IANS takes a look at the stars who took to yoga and inspired many others to follow suit.

* Kareena Kapoor Khan: It is known that Kareena’s fitness journey is a result of yoga, exercise and a strict meal plan. She first stunned one and all with her ‘size-zero’ look in “Tashan”, and continues to set fitness goals with her workout regime. The actress might not be on social media, but images and videos giving a glimpse into how she adds yoga to her regime have surfaced on the social media making one thing clear — she is super-focused on getting fitter each day.

* Shilpa Shetty Kundra: For many, she is the poster girl for yoga. She has yoga DVDs, a YouTube channel of her yoga clips, and a fitness app, where she has a #MindItYogaProgram.

On her love for yoga, Shilpa had told IANS: “One of the very important things that yoga has taught me is to be emotionally secure and stay centered and connected to myself… Yoga helps to align our body’s chakras and strengthen our inner confidence. Once you are emotionally strong, how people perceive you, does not affect your personality. Yoga is the need of the hour.”

* Bipasha Basu: She is a yoga freak, and has several yoga DVDs and videos to prove it. In fact, Bipasha along with husband and actor Karan Singh Grover, gives couple goals by doing couple yoga. She says “he is a true Yogi. My inspiration everyday”.

* Alia Bhatt: She is another celebrity who practices yoga regularly. It is believed that she practices ‘Ashtanga yoga’ at least two times in a week, and also credits yoga for her glowing skin and toned physique.

* Malaika Arora: She has been inspiring everyone for long to add yoga into their lifestyle — and her social media is a testimony to it. “Yoga is a way of life that motivates you, grounds you, tones you mentally and physically, makes you mindful and invokes a feeling of happiness in you,” said Malaika, who co-founded Diva Yoga, and has invested in yoga and wellness startup SARVA.

* Jacqueline Fernandez: She likes to call herself ‘Yogini’, and says yoga is an integral part of her life. The actress holds yoga sessions and uses her social media to share images doing yoga, especially pole yoga.

Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranaut
Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranaut. (IANS)

“In the past couple of years, yoga has slowly become an integral part of me, and I am so proud of how far I have come… It has been 10 years in Bollywood and million points to yoga, for being my ultimate stress-buster,” Jacqueline said.

* Kangana Ranaut: Yoga is the secret behind Kangana’s toned figure. The “Queen” star has been practicing yoga for a while now and expressed her love for the ancient Indian art in an interview to a magazine. She said: “Yoga is a gift and I actually think that I have survived due to it. Through meditation, pranayam and yoga postures, I could vent out a lot of restless energy.”

* Deepika Padukone: If you want to have a svelte figure like Deepika Padukone, then the formula is a mix of cardio, gym, dance and yoga.

* Sonam Kapoor: Her fitness mantras include yoga, work out and pilate. Opening up about her struggle to lose weight, Sonam had shared that yoga helped her achieve the goal.

“I pushed myself too hard at spin classes, did power yoga for hours at a stretch, and developed an unhealthy relationship with food. Some weeks, desperate to drop a couple of kilos, I would simply not eat,” she said.

* Mouni Roy: She became an Internet sensation — thanks to her yoga poses. Recently, she posted a series of yoga videos of her trying out various asanas of the fitness regime — setting fitness goals for many.

Other stars who practice yoga regularly include names like Lara Dutta and Bhagyashree.

Also Read- Actor Arjun Kapoor Discusses About Pros, Cons of Stardom

Deepika Mehta, who has trained Alia, Jacqueline, Katrina Kaif, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Deepika, and is associated with Tata Sky’s value added service – Tata Sky Fitness, says yoga makes one’s quality of life better.

Mehta said: “In today’s world finding a mindful practice is very important for people because we have so much distraction, technology and stress. The technique of yoga gives you distance from the stress of your life and helps to calm your body and mind. Yoga is extremely important for a healthy life as it gives you a great sense of health and fitness.” (IANS)