In a move depicting India’s firm commitment to the global spread of Yoga and the intention to firmly place the newly inaugurated Chancery building in Wellington as the hub of Indian culture and diaspora, the High Commissioner of India Muktesh Pardeshi has announced the appointment of a new dedicated Yoga instructor and year-long yoga classes at the new premises.

Mr Pardeshi made the announcement via his Twitter handle immediately before the beginning of the commemorative event for the 8th International Day of Yoga 2022 at the New Zealand parliament on Tuesday, June 21.

Notably, every year June 21 is celebrated as International Day of Yoga after the United Nations had proclaimed as International Day of Yoga by passing a resolution on December 11, 2014.

“On International #YogaDay today, @IndiainNZ is pleased to announce conduct of Yoga classes & workshops at its new premises in Wellington soon by our new Cultural Associate & Yoga Professional Ankita Sood,” Mr Pardeshi said on Twitter handle.

Subsequently speaking with the Indian Weekender, Mr Pardeshi said, “The High Commission of India is going to run a cycle of yoga and cultural activities throughout the year with several yoga classes to be held many times in a week before and after office hours to give maximum opportunity for participation from yoga enthusiasts.”

More outreach events planned ahead.

“She [Ms Sood] will be reaching out to universities, schools, Indian community associations and offer free cultural services in the form of yoga workshops and classes.”

“Since the new Culture Associate will be based in the Chancery building in Wellington so obviously there will be more dedicated yoga classes available for the Wellingtonians,” Mr Pardeshi said

However, subsequently, there are plans that the Cultural Associate at the Indian Chancery building will be touring all over New Zealand for different events.

“We are planning to send her to Auckland for a week or ten days and make connections with the prominent Indian diaspora groups and ensure a smooth delivery of cultural and emotional well-being services,” Mr Pardeshi said.

 Yoga event organised at NZ parliament precinct.

Meanwhile, earlier, the first celebratory event of the 8th International Day of Yoga anywhere in the world was organised in Wellington by the Indian High Commission in the precinct of NZ parliament at 7.30 am on Tuesday, June 21.

Co-hosted in the parliament by Labour Party’s Kiwi-Indian MP Dr Gaurav Sharma and MP for Lower Hutt Ginny Anderson, the event witnessed the participation of members of the Indian diaspora and several yoga enthusiasts from the wider community.

This is the second occasion of a yoga event being held in NZ parliament and the first to be held inside the parliament building, with one being held on parliament grounds last year in 2021.

While last year the event was held in parliament grounds on June 6 – as a build-up of many celebratory events planned around the country in the lead up to the actual International Day of Yoga (June 21) – this year’s event was held as the main and the first event of the country (and by logic anywhere in the world).

Expressing rejoice Mr Pardeshi said, “It is indeed a matter of great privilege to be able to host the first commemorative event to mark International Day of Yoga anywhere in the world with 75 such events planned from iconic global destinations as a part of the government of India’s push to coincide with the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.”

The event was attended by several MPs of the New Zealand parliament, including Kiwi-Indian MP Dr Gaurav Sharma.

“Yoga is great for mental wellbeing of our communities” says MP for Hutt South

Speaking with the Indian Weekender Labour MP Ginny Anderson said, “I have been practicing yoga for the last seventeen years and it has really changed my life. It has taught me how to bring balance into my body, mind and spirit.”

“It has also taught me the importance of breathing,” Ms Anderson said pointing towards the fact that yoga practice aims to create union between body, mind and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness.

“The concern of mental health is more important than ever, especially on the back of Covid, and we know that communities are really finding in tough and yoga is a perfect way of fining balance between mental health and physical well-being,” Ms Anderson said.