32 delegates from more than 12 different countries; a few yogis, some tour and travel promoters and several journalists were invited by India Tourism and Ministry of Ayush to observe and participate in the International Day of Yoga 2018 (IDY2018) in New Delhi.

22 June was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations, and people observed the fourth IDY across the globe, covering every possible nation and island.

The concept behind inviting several delegates from different nations belonging to different professional backgrounds with little to adept knowledge of Yoga was to give them a taste of this spiritual, mental and physical form of exercise practised from several thousand years.

The tour for the delegates started early on Wednesday, June 21 as they landed in New Delhi from different connecting flights from their home countries. The ones who landed earlier had the opportunity to take a quick trip to busy markets of New and Old Delhi.

The delegates flew in for IDY 2018 from Australia, Germany, Russia, France, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Burma, United States, Scotland, New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada.

The delegates, some of them trained yoga instructors in their home countries, travel agents and tour planners, social media bloggers, newspaper journalists, travelogue writers, TV presenters, vloggers etc. on Thursday, June 22 ventured out in their tour bus to Qutub Minar to experience their first IDY celebrations outside their countries.

Sundial Gardens, one of the many locations reserved in Delhi to host the fourth IDY 2018. The event was also attended by the locals yoga enthusiasts of Old Delhi, freelance journalists in the city, photographers, yoga instructors from different yoga schools, and celebrities such as Ajeet Bajaj and Deeya Bajaj, the father-daughter duo who recently climbed the Mt Everest, Aanchal Thakur, the first Indian to win a medal for skiing in the slalom at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup in Turkey etc.

The Yoga instructors were seated on an elevated platform to allow the visitors see and perform the yoga.

The attendees were provided with green and saffron coloured yoga mats with ‘Incredible India’ printed on them. Approximately 200 men, women, senior citizens and children besides delegates and other guests were seated in the open garden against the backdrop of the enigmatic Qutub Minar and with a few chants of the word Om, the celebration of the big day started.

With a few warm up and brief safety instructions, the moderators and instructors led the yoga from 7:30 a.m. mirrored by the gathering at the venue. The modest temperature of approximately 32 degrees of Delhi failed to shake the spirits of the attendees, especially the delegates who are not so familiar with a peak temperature of India’s summer. The instructors delivered in both English and Hindi for the understanding of both the locals and the guests, and gave step-by-step instructions and safety precautions for each of the asanas and exercises performed. The instructor also mentioned the benefits of different asanas and exercises on various parts of both and what to practice regularly for mental health as well.

The exercise of inviting people from different countries to participate in the IDY can be considered as one of the best ways to promote not only yoga, as an age-old mental, physical and spiritual exercise but also to attract more tourists to the country.

The first-hand experiences attained by the yogis, journalists and tour operators at the event has made these delegates an ambassador of goodwill for the country and Yoga as well. The visitors had a very successful and satisfactory yoga day, performing yoga with the trained yogis, in an open space (which is ideal) and with hundreds of new faces.

“It was so amazing to see so many people doing yoga together and the positivity for this event. It is just incredibly beautiful,” a delegate told The Indian Weekender, who too was invited to be a part of the delegation in India and explore IDY 2018.

“I am yogi myself in Germany, and it is amazing to come across events as IDY in such a big scale being held in India. Yoga is empowering and liberates ones’ soul from the shackles of its negativity,” a German yogi participating at the IDY 2018 added.

IDY 2018 was observed across the country, several locations in Delhi itself such as Rajpath, India Gate, Qutub Minar etc.

The vision with IDY and inviting delegates to perform yoga in a massive gathering in India was to get more eyeballs and attention of the people across different parts of the globe to start doing yoga and make it an integral part of one’s life. Whether be it in travel journals, lifestyle magazines, video blogs, newspaper articles, social media posts, or promoting India as a destination to learn yoga by tour operators- the message of yoga has to reach people as it aims to bring a lot of healthy changes in ones’ lives, their perception of different things and bring positive and clarity in their thoughts.

Tourism India looks forward to getting the much bigger participation of people from different walks of life, professions, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities and age groups to come to India and be a part of the global celebration of the International Yoga Day.