Indian Embassy to hold 8th International Day of Yoga at  Washington monument

Guests performing yoga at the curtain raiser event on June 3, 2022 at the Embassy of India in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Washington DC: In preparations of the 8th International Day of Yoga to be celebrated on the iconic Washington Monument grounds on June 18, 2022, the Embassy of India held a curtain raiser Friday, June 3, 2022, for community members to listen to a lecture on yoga and meditation, and perform a few yoga stretches.

The United Nations adopted the International Day of Yoga and it’s official date is June 21 every year.

Ambassador Sudhakar Dalela honoring yoga instructors at the curtain raiser event on June 3, 2022 at the Embassy of India in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Addressing the guests, Embassy of India’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Sudhakar Dalela was confident that this year’s International Day of Yoga, which will be celebrated under the theme of “Yoga for Humanity,” will witness enthusiastic participation from Friends of Yoga, and members of the Indian diaspora. He invited everyone along with their family and friends to participate in the celebrations scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 18th at 8:30 am.


This year’s yoga celebrations at the Washington monument resume in-person after a two-year hiatus due to pandemic restrictions Dalela noted. “The message for benefit of yoga in promoting both the physical and mental well-being of humanity has never been more relevant. During the last two years of the challenging pandemic, several people have shared with me how yoga has played a critical role in improving their physical and mental well-being,” he said. “Over a billion people see yoga as an enhancer of the physical, mental, spiritual and intellectual well-being in a world which is full of challenges. Yoga promotes unity of mind and body, unity of thought and action, and a holistic approach that is valuable for health and well-being,” adding, “today, people of all ages all over the world have embraced yoga in different forms suitable to their lifestyle or their company.

Aparna Ramaswamy delivering a lecture on yoga and meditation at the curtain raiser event on June 3, 2022 at the Embassy of India in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

At the event, Aparna Ramaswamy, a licensed clinical professional counselor and clinical supervisor in Maryland and District of Columbia delivered a discourse on “Neuroscience of Yoga & Meditation for Holistic Health.”

While sharing some research and evidence that connects neuroscience and yoga, Ramaswamy, who is also an accomplished Indian classical dancer, said it would be difficult to convey the magnitude of what yoga and meditation are about in a short lecture. “My central point is yoga is meditation. There is no confusion about it. The confusion comes from the practice of it. But, yoga is meditation. How you meditate is through simple power of breath — it’s just the power of breathing. If you can breathe, then you can meditate. There isn’t anyone alive who cannot meditate.”

According to Ramaswamy, Patanjali, Vyasa, and the scriptures have said that yoga is meditation, a long time ago.

She said Asanas are simply the steppingstones to meditation, but optional.  “If you can meditate on a chair, you’re doing yoga. The yoga sutra does not have a single word about how to do Asana.”

The point of yoga, she said, “is to understand we exist in this cosmos of this world. And we have a shot at fulfilling what our existential purposes are. It is to stay grounded and aspire to stay connected with the direction and wisdom that comes outside of us.”

She explained the uses of breathing exercises in the Pranayam, and how meditation transforms behavior.

“The only way to change your behaviors is to change the pathway – it’s called neuroplasticity. Now when you meditate, research shows there’s a lot of neural pathways that can develop like a longer road to go to your better side of prefrontal cortex. So, meditation is one of the most powerful rehabilitation.”

After the lecture, guests had the opportunity to perform basic yoga stretches under the guidance of yoga instructor, Mohan Tirumale, who was accompanied by other instructors Nahel Thaker, and Kaushal Shah.

Ramaswamy, Tirumale, Thaker, and Shah were honored with bouquets by Dalela at the event, where senior embassy officials were also present. Second Secretary, Press, Information & Culture wing, Aditi Walunj, delivered vote of thanks.



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