Dubai: Scores of residents in the UAE followed yoga gurus on screen during a Facebook live yoga session organised by the Consulate General of India in Dubai on Saturday evening, ahead of the sixth International Day of Yoga (June 21).
This year the consulate, as well as yogis globally, went digital on its page (facebook.com/IndianConsulate.Dubai) for the annual event instead of mass gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Besides over 100 virtual followers of the session, roughly two dozen people also assumed the positions on consulate premises – face masks on while maintaining social distancing norms.
Joining the small group was Vipul, the consul general of India in Dubai, who addressed the gathering before taking part in yoga. He said this year Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for yoga at home to mark the international day, in light of the pandemic.
The theme for IDY 2020 is ‘Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family’.
“That’s why we thought that we will use these digital means so that people can join us on the internet to do yoga with us,” Vipul said.
“In the pandemic situation, it is important that we keep up with yoga. It is important for our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing… especially in the pandemic situation when everyone is constrained to be home most of the time; everyone’s anxiety levels are very high. I think yoga can provide us that much-needed support so that we can calm ourselves down.”
Vipul concluded his address “by paying homage to our soldiers who lost their lives two days back”, referring to the casualties in Galwan Valley.
The event started with a common yoga protocol led by Shobhna Sharma and Akhil Mohan at the consulate. It was followed by pranayama and meditation sessions before coming to a close in around an hour.
The event was supported by yoga schools in the UAE.
Facebook user Naveen Sharma commented: “Sir, Thanks for the great work and yoga can help in this difficult time.”
Last year, more than 4,000 people from different nationalities attended the International Day of Yoga in Dubai, organised by consulate. One of the supporting the event was Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) for Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Kamal Vachani, chairman of GOPIO for Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said, “GOPIO Dubai and the Northern Emirates will continue its support to the International Day of Yoga like last year in the UAE.”
Vachani added, “Due to the contagious nature of coronavirus, no mass gathering would be held this year. GOPIO encourages people to practise yoga at their home, along with the entire family. This year the yoga is more important as it strengthens the immune and the respiratory system, which is needed during COVID-19 outbreak.”