Int'l Day of Yoga celebrated in Phl

A woman performs yoga
A woman performs yoga at Lodhi gardens on International Day of Yoga, in New Delhi on 21 June 2024. ARUN SANKAR / AFP

The International Day of Yoga (IDY), celebrated annually every 21 June, aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

The Philippines has joined the celebration, with more than 100 participants, who practiced yoga asanas drawn from the Common Yoga Protocol under the guidance of the leading Yoga gurus and experts in the Philippines, attended the event at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The IDY celebration in the country was held with the theme, “Yoga for Self and Society”, a movement emphasizing on self and society’s well-being while promoting global health and peace. Yoga can be a comprehensive instrument for society encompassing physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. Yoga was also inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016.

The event was graced by a video message from Dr. Teodoro J. Herbosa, Secretary from the Department of Health (DOH). Ma. Teresa C. Inigo, MD, FPCAM, CESE, Director General from the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITACH) addressed the event as a Chief Guest. Dr. Jaime C. Laya, Chairman from the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Mr. Gustavo Gonzales, UN Resident Coordinator from the United Nations in the Philippines, addressed the event as the Guest of Honors.

As the theme of the celebration focuses on self and society, the yoga practice was led by yoga gurus and experts showcasing their skills in various yoga practices such as asanas, pranayama, and meditation in front of the participants. The practice commenced with the Suryanamaskar (sun salutation), led by Ms. Janice Cuevas-Puzon, a certified Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher. This was followed by the practice of key Yoga asanas led by Ms. Donna Lampano, a certified Yoga Guru. Thereafter, Ms. Clara Day Herrera, a certified international expert guided the participants through the Pranayama guided breathing practice. Ms. Iachina Hernandez, the founder of BetterLife Studio, concluded the event through a meditation session. Yoga enthusiasts also supported the event by participating to take the Yoga pledge which may be accessed through the website of the Embassy of India.

Dr. Sadre Alam, Charge d' Affaires a.i. to the Philippines, felicitated the local yoga teachers who took part in the celebration. Alam noted that holistic approach is increasing in popularity in the Philippines. Yoga, as an effective practice for physical and mental well-being and prophylaxis. At the same time, the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurveda which also generated considerable interest among the Filipino community as an alternative method to complement modern medicine.

The 5,000-year-old practice of Yoga, which originated in ancient Indian Civilization, has now become a practice for its mental and spiritual benefits. As a key pathway towards sustaining a healthy lifestyle across the world and in recognition of its universal appeal, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga in December 2014. 

In the Philippines, yoga continues to emerge as a prominent practice for physical and mental well-being, and has helped generate a healthy lifestyle for local practitioners. Its growing influence reflects a global trend where individuals seek alternative and holistic approaches to health and wellness. Several Filipino Yoga practitioners have visited India for training, thereby deepening the people-to-people cultural exchanges between India and the Philippines. Several of them have received training as certified yoga teachers in India.

As yoga is practiced by millions of people worldwide, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries. It has evolved into various styles and forms, but its core principles and philosophies remain rooted in its ancient origins, continuing to promote physical health, mental well-being, and spiritual growth. India hopes that enhancing the reach of the healing practice of Yoga, through the annual celebration of IDY and other activities, will make a meaningful contribution in this regard

Daily Tribune