Monday, 22 June 2015

International Day Of Yoga 2015

International Day of Yoga commemoration at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata. Photograph - Anirban Saha |

On the occasion of the very first International Day of Yoga celebrated across the world on 21st June, Healthy Billions organized an event focusing on the benefits of yoga and nuances of corporate yoga, at the Taj Bengal, last evening. Among the dignitaries present, mostly from the corporate field, Anirban Saha and I were invited to the event as bloggers.

The Crystal Banquet at the Taj was all decked up in anticipation. Yoga, an ancient Indian practice, was finally being given a special day of recognition all over the planet. The International Day of Yoga came to be only after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched the idea at a United Nations gathering. The day was celebrated with much gusto, yogic demonstrations being held at places like the Eiffel Tower and Times Square. In India, over 35,000 people assembled at the Raj Path, in the largest mass demonstration of yoga in the world, breaking the previous Guinness record of 29,000. In addition, the yoga demonstration at Raj Path also broke the Guinness world record for most countries represented – volunteers and invitees from 84 different nationalities came together and participated in it. Almost every state in the country organized yoga events, with thousands of people taking part in a day of celebrating health and fitness.

Closer to home, Kolkata saw its own celebrations taking place in the form of yoga demonstrations at the Maidan, and the Victoria Memorial grounds early in the morning. To add to that, similar events were also organized at places like Rabindra Sarobar, Fort William, Kankurgachi and other significant places strewn across the city. Although rain played spoilsport for much of the late morning and afternoon, it could not dampen the spirit of the public who had turned out in large numbers to support the cause.

Crystal Banquets, Taj Bengal. International Day of Yoga celebrations. Photograph - Anirban Saha |

After a remarkably unique day, we were gathered at the Taj to witness the event Healthy Billions had organized. Healthy Billions is a community providing various types of health and medical assistance, be it a 24/7 ambulance service, doctors-on-call, yoga teachers and demonstrators and much more. Backed by the Limtex group, they had invited the two of us from Kolkata Bloggers to be apart of their event.

It was a really nice experience listening to people from different fields of health and fitness talk about keeping shape, and the benefits of yoga. Hena Nafeez, nutrionist and columnist for The Telegraph T2, spoke about the four facets of healthy living – Diet, Active Living, Stress Management and Adequate Sleep. She spoke about how one’s diet should entail balance, variety and portion control, how fitness is directly correlated to an active and proper lifestyle, and many people fail to achieve optimal physical and mental health simply due to lack of sleep, or stress in today’s competitive world.

Children from HoHoHa (Hope Home Happiness) perform as part of the #InternationalDayOfYoga celebrations at the Taj Bengal, Kolkata. Photograph - Anirban Saha |

I must mention the special performed by the kids from HoHoHa (Home, Hope, Happiness) – a home for street children that has been operational for three years now, run by the same parent group. A group of kids from HoHoHa demonstrated yogic postures in a rhythmic, musical backdrop. Their instructors also chipped in, portraying a graceful show that pleased one and all.
Gunjan Poddar, CEO and Founder of Healthy Billions then took stage to greet the guests. He spoke about the rapid positive response that Healthy Billions has received, being only a six-month-old organization. He walked us through the lofty aim of the initiative – to promote and ensure a healthy lifestyle for all. Home, Hope and Happiness was also mentioned, as Mr. Poddar spoke of the HoHoHa community – now 75 strong, and growing.

Gunjan Poddar, CEO and Founder of Healthy Billions, speaks about the initiative. Photograph - Anirban Saha |

The session ended with a bout of corporate yoga. This was aimed at a large percentage of the guests invited, who were too engrossed in their busy work schedules to take out time for yoga and practice it with dedication. It featured a series of simple exercises, such as a neck exercise, a hip rotation exercise and the like. In a fun round of interactive learning, the guests were asked to get up from their chairs and join in on the exercises. They were basically aimed at stress-relief and keeping the body fit even after long hours of deskwork.

The entire event lasted around an hour and a half. Upon its conclusion, guests were treated to a “healthy dinner” of broccoli, onion lasagna, grilled fish and chicken stew, with pudding and fresh fruits for dessert. It was a wonderfully organized event, for a commendable cause. The food was good, the music was better, the yoga was the best. The first International Day of Yoga was a grand success not only in Kolkata and India, but all over the world.

#InterntionalDayOfYoga Photograph - Anirban Saha |

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