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Time Square preparing for International Yoga Day celebrations

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In preparation for International Yoga Day on June 21, banners have been put up at the United Nations in New York
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In preparation for International Yoga Day on June 21, banners have been put up at the United Nations in New York
In preparation for International Yoga Day on June 21, banners have been put up at the United Nations in New York (IANS)

New York: As the world celebrates International Day of Yoga on Sunday in a unique event that is in many ways an endorsement of the Indian way of life, more than 30,000 people are expected to participate in a mass demonstration of the ancient art in the city’s Times Square, after global leaders and diplomats from around the world launch the observance at the UN headquarters.

Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon is to deliver the keynote address at the start of the day’s celebrations at the UN headquarters in an open plaza along the East River. India’s Permanent Representative, Asoke Kumar Mukerji, told reporters here Tuesday. General Assembly President, Sam Kutesa and External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj are slated to speak on the occasion along with representatives of some of the nations that co-sponsored the International Day of Yoga resolution.

Sri Sri Ravishankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, is to give a lecture on the benefits of yoga and lead a demonstration by several hundred people at the UN and, through a video link, the thousands on Times Square – which is known as “the crossroads of the world.”

The UN celebrations are to be webcast on the UN network, and also are supposed to be shown on the NASDAQ market building’s giant, seven storey-tall video screen, and also on Times Square.

“Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spirtual health and well-being,” Ban said in his message for International Day of Yoga. “It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share.”

He said that he had tried out yoga by doing the tree pose or Vrksasana, and “appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring.”

A manifestation of the universal value of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” — the world is one family, the UN General Assembly resolution for International Day of Yoga was co-sponsored by 177 nations, and adopted by acclamation by the 193-member organisation, Mukerji said. This was the largest number of co-sponsors ever for such a resolution, he added.

The idea of an International Day of Yoga was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the General Assembly last September, calling yoga “a holistic approach to health and well being” and to finding “the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

“Yoga embodies the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; the harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

For yoga day to be observed starting this year, Mukerji said that the resolution for it had to be passed by the General Assembly before the end of last year but the calendar had already been set with no room for fresh items.

The Indian Mission found a way around this, by invoking the association Modi made between health and yoga, Mukerji said. They had the Yoga Day resolution introduced as part of the health agenda, that was already on the calendar for December, he said.

The Mission brought the full force of multilateral diplomacy to bear the project, he said. The Indian diplomats were able to have the 18-sponsors they initially had, which then snowball to reach a total of 177 co-sponsors. And when both the United States and China signed on, the effort gained momentum.

Asked by a reporter about the role of Muslim countries as co-sponsors, and the controversies raised in India by some Muslims, Mukerji said that yoga was presented as a health matter with no religious undertones, and he pointed out that 47 of the 56 members of the Muslim grouping, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, joined as co-sponsors. While Pakistan and Saudi Arabia did not co-sponsor, they did not object to the resolution either. (IANS)

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Asthma Ups The Chance Of Obesity: Study

The increase in the risk of obesity was even greater in people whose asthma began in adulthood.

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Obesity, Asthma
Asthma may up obesity risk. Pixabay

While obesity is already known as a risk factor for developing asthma, a new research led by one of an Indian-origin has showed that people with the airway disease are also more likely to become obese.

The study indicates that those who develop asthma as adults and those who have non-allergic asthma are at the greatest risk of obesity.

The relationship between asthma and obesity is more complex than previously thought and more research is needed to better understand and tackle these two growing health challenges, the researchers said.

Obesity, Asthma
They found that 10.2 per cent of people with asthma at the start of the study had become obese ten years on Flickr Commons

“We already know that obesity can be a trigger for asthma, perhaps via a physiological, metabolic or inflammatory change,” said Subhabrata Moitra, research student at the ISGlobal – the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain.

However, the researchers do not know the reason why having asthma increases the risk of developing obesity or whether different asthma treatments have any effect on this risk.

The team included 8,618 people from 12 countries who were followed for 20 years.

Obesity, Pregnancy
The relationship between asthma and obesity is more complex than previously thought. Pixabay

They found that 10.2 per cent of people with asthma at the start of the study had become obese ten years on. Among people who did not have asthma, 7.7 per cent were obese ten years later.

Also Read: Exposure to Pollen During Pregnancy May up The risk of Asthma in Kids

The increase in the risk of obesity was even greater in people whose asthma began in adulthood. It was also greater in people who had asthma but did not suffer with allergies, the findings showed.

The results were presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Paris. (IANS)