A bright sun shone on Paris as nearly 1500 persons gathered to celebrate the 2nd International Yoga Day in the French capital.
This has been the wettest spring in French history, with Paris, and most of the country, having been continuously battered by torrential rains for over two months, breaking all records.
Hence, as the organisation of the 2nd International Yoga Day were underway, the biggest concern of the officials of the Embassy of India, Paris, the main organisers of the event was whether on Saturday morning the Nature would play spoilsport or give them a hand in successful repeat of the 1st International Yoga Day celebrations, which had seen an unprecedented turn out last year.
The morning was gloomy enough with dark clouds racing across the skies but by around 8 am, a bright Sun managed to break through the clouds, cheering the organisers, who had prepared the beautiful laws of the Parc de la Villette, a large public park in north-eastern Paris.
And soon enough the park began to fill up as hundreds of Yoga enthusiasts and debutants began streaming to the site. By the time the event was to start, the park was almost filled up with over 1500 persons, mostly French, who were seated in a hemisphere, reflecting the form of the rays of a rising Sun.
India’s gift to the world
The programme began with a prayer offered to the deities and was followed by a short cultural programme, showcasing the diversity of the Indian culture. Addressing the gathering, Dr Mohan Kumar, the Ambassador of India to France, said that he was very pleased to see the large turnout, despite the uncertain weather and despite it being rather early on a weekend morning.
He also spoke of the importance of adopting Yoga as part of the daily life by all as the practice helps in countering the problems posed by the modern lifestyle and is specially helpful for overcoming depression, stress, blood pressure and obesity – all challenges facing France and other nations. The Indian ambassador also reminded the participants that though Yoga may have become popular in many parts of the world, it was the gift of Indian culture to the world and the International Yoga Day celebrations are a good way to remind to the world of this precious Indian gift.
The Yoga session, lasting over an hour, was conducted by Kiran Vyas, who has been running a renowned Yoga centre in Paris over a decade. The participants responded with enthusiasm. “I came to know about Yoga about a year ago and since then I have been practicising everyday to keep myself healthy,’’ said Nathalie, a young Parisian.
There were others who had only heard of Yoga but got their first real full session of Yoga only at the Parc de la Villette. “I have only heard about Yoga and seen many Yoga centres coming up around Paris. So, I was curious to come and see for myself what it was and this International Yoga Day is a great occasion for me and many others like me to come and learn Yoga from an authentic teacher,’’ said Antoine, an 18-year-old student.