- The ancient Indian discipline can solve many of New Zealand’s mental health issues, was the message at Christchurch’s third International Day of Yoga celebrations; part two of the celebrations will take place next weekend hosted by the Canterbury Indian Women Group

On the occasion of the International Day of Yoga in Christchurch, teachers and trainers made a case for using the ancient Indian discipline – based on an extremely subtle science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body – to solve New Zealand’s grave mental health scenario. The event was organised by the city-based social organisation Indian Culture Group (ICG).

Mr Tilak Raj, a doctoral student at the Lincoln University, engaged in developing a yoga programme for improving sports performance in New Zealand said, “My experience with yoga for the last two decades certainly makes me believe that with yoga a synergy between one's body, mind, emotions and spiritual energy can be attained. I urge both the government and various city councils to work with agencies and yoga practitioners to develop community programmes on similar lines. It can be an important aid in New Zealand’s fight against rising mental health cases.”

He along with Clare Davenport from Iyengar Yoga carried out interactive asanas session with over 50 participants at the celebrations.

The afternoon also witnessed a pranayama session with Aurora Smith from the Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and guided yoga movements including surya namaskaar by Chutima Hathathamnoon who comes from Thailand.

A booklet titled ‘Common Yoga Protocol’ issued by the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), Government of India, was also distributed to the participants.

“We tied-up with the Indian High Commission and various yoga teachers in and around Christchurch to make this event possible. Our coordinator Dr Aniket Puri, Intervention Cardiologist at the Christchurch Hospital, and his daughter, as part of her school project, also investigated the benefits yoga has on our blood pressure by recording the levels pre- and post-yoga sessions. We are also working on organising more yoga sessions throughout the year as part of our health series, which we initiated in 2014,” said Sandeep Sachdeva, President of ICG.


While addressing the 69th session of UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014, the Indian PM urged the world community to adopt an International Day of Yoga. Then on December 11, 2014, the 193-member Assembly approved the proposal by consensus with a record 177 co-sponsoring countries.