Yoga is both an art as well as a science and has amazing curative and preventive powers for the well-being of humanity. Like any other cities, Mumbai also participated on the 1st International Yoga Day. Several NGOs come together to make this every successful and ask every individual to participate in the event. Public sector like Central Railway also participates enthusiastically to boost health and well being of its employees. Large yoga mat were seen everywhere. Many schools have taken part on this occasion. The grand event has given an extra boost to sale of yoga mats and related products in city.
Starting from Chowpatty all the way to Nariman Point, the promenade was entirely devoted to anyone wishing to do yoga between 6 to 9am on Sunday. There were 150 yoga instructors, positioned at regular intervals along the stretch, who have been trained by Mickey Mehta. Major dignitaries and Bollywood stars participated in the event and were followed by a brief demonstration of poses by Mehta himself on a small stage. A signature campaign was also held asking people to pledge and adopt yoga for healthy living.
This is a joint initiative by I Love Mumbai, The Art of Living and the Equal Streets Initiative. “In today’s stressed out life there are two aspects to keep in mind. You have to love yourself and really believe that health is wealth. And the second and most important is to love your city with as much vigour,” said BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, whose father Nana Chudasama founded city-centric NGO ‘I Love Mumbai’ on principle of bringing the city together around social causes.
“Yoga transcends the boundaries of nations, communities and religion. It is by itself so potent and complete, we need not add any unnecessary or in clear word ‘religious’ flavour to it,” said Mickey Mehta, who is renowned holistic Health Guru.
Naaznin Husein, who has 17 years first-hand, experienced in the power of yoga as a trained yoga instructor also participated in the event. “Yoga is a way of life and it’s one of the few forms of exercise that helps us connect inward also. Every physical posture is good for the body while also teaching an attitude management,” said Husein, who is also a trustee of the Equal Streets Initiative.
“The practice of yoga is finding more and more acceptance worldwide considering its tremendous impact on mind and body,” added Krishnakumar Nair, a trustee of The Art of Living India.
On the other hand, public sectors like the Central Railway (CR) also observed International Yoga day. Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, CR inaugurated the yoga workshop at Central Railway auditorium at 8.50am in the traditional manner by lighting a lamp. Several senior officials and other staff were present in large numbers. Bharat Chawda, a yoga teacher of Kaivalyadham, spoke to the railway officials about the benefits of yoga and demonstrated various asanas of yoga along with his team.
Subodh Tiwari, joint director of Kaivalyadhama, an institute that teaches yoga as well as promotes yogic healing, said, “Yoga has nothing to do with religion. It is an activity that promotes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of a person.”
“Yoga is a science that was started in 300 BC. The scriptures clearly mention that it is only meant for the overall well-being of a person; however some religions made it a part of its regular activities and hence it is being construed today as being part of religion,” he added.
“An extravaganza called yoga reached every nook and corner of the world and it was a significant success for the movement. Even monsoon rains did not lower the spirits of the people of Mumbai. The organisers made an elaborate arrangement to conduct the memorable proceedings in indoors to the convenience of the people and to make the yoga day a grand success,” says former Cricket umpire C K Subramaniam.
Contrary to the controversies, large number of Muslim also taken part in the event, though the holy month of Ramzan is going on. “It was a welcome change to come here for a yoga session early morning while fasting. After today’s experience, I will include yoga in my daily workout regime,” said Irfan Salmani, who dressed in a traditional white coloured kurta-pyjama and skullcap.
“People who have spread such lies have a malicious intent. There is nothing wrong with Muslims doing yoga. It’s a natural workout that helps us fight many diseases and infections and keeps us healthy,” he said.
Sajjad Akhtar, 40, a computer spare parts shop owner said, “We greet our Hindu friends with a namaskar. So, why would we have any problem with Surya Namaskar (the sun salutation asana that is considered a complete exercise in itself)? Yes, But we can’t bow before the sun as we only bow towards Allah (Subhana Talahu),” he added.
On the lighter side, a shopkeeper selling sports and fitness material said, “Footfalls in shop has increased in the last one week and kids seem to be the most excited lot who want everything from costumes to mats.” The shop owner confirmed that sale of yoga mats and other related products has gone up by 50 per cent.
Vishambhar Patil, who owns a shop at Naupada in Thane, said, “The demand has certainly gone up with people giving preference to mats ‘Made in China’ as they are cheaper than the regular ones. I have also received bulk order from one a housing society and many individuals are walking in for products in the last one week.”