MESSAGE BY HON. MINISTER OF SOCIAL COHESION DR. GEORGE NORTON ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD YOGA DAY

Today, Thursday, June 21, 2018, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana will join the rest of the world in observance of the 4th International Day of Yoga, under the theme “Yoga for Peace.”

It was India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, who reasoned in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, that “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

The observance of this day, popularly referred to as Yoga Day, is aimed at raising global awareness of the numerous benefits of practicing yoga. In recent years, Guyanese from all walks of life have come to recognise these benefits and have been engaged in this physical, mental and spiritual practice.

The word yoga originates from Yuja, a Sanskrit word, meaning “to join or to unite.” It symbolizes the union of body and consciousness, which has been practiced for over 5,000 years.

Some of the physical benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health and improved athletic performance.

While yoga is a great form of exercise, it transcends the burning of the calories and toning of muscles, to focus on both mind and body. Yoga has been proven to improve a person’s mental health, empowering them with increased coping mechanisms and stress management skills.

So, at a time when Guyana is battling high rates of suicides, the practice of Yoga may be an ideal extracurricular activity to help with depression and anxieties that may lead to suicidal thoughts.

As we observe International Day of Yoga, I urge you to take up practice today, as yoga is the art that helps you bring calmness to your mind, strength to your body and settles your soul to help you live a meaningful life.

Happy International Day of Yoga to you all!

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