A celebration of the 3rd International Yoga Day in the Houses of Parliament, London, on 10 July, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary
Group [APPG] for Indian Traditional Sciences and sponsored by the High Commission of India, was designed to explore the value of introducing Yoga in the NHS and other areas of the life of society.
A group of over 30 children from various schools led by Carolina Naess, Faculty at the Art of Living Foundation was the highlight of the evening. These children performed yoga poses including Bhastrika Pranayam followed by an unusual dance without music. These little yogis gave a warm high five to all visitors in the House of Commons in Committee Room 14 on their exit.
On the occasion Prof Tony Nader MD PhD, leader of Transcendental Meditation organisation, was given a special award for his achievements.
Chief Guest the High Commissioner of India in the UK, His Excellency Mr Y K Sinha pointed out that Yoga is being practised more and more widely in the UK and other Western countries.
APPG Indian Traditional Sciences Chairman Virendra Sharma MP and Vice Chairman Rt Hon Tom Brake MP, Vice Presidents Lord Hussain, Tanmanjit Singh Dhinsa MP welcomed the chief guest Indian High Commissioner Mr Sinha, along with guest of honour Prof Tony Nader at a full house of Yoga fraternity.
Virendra Sharma informed the meeting of the Early Day Motion 27 – International Yoga Day, tabled on 21.06.2017 by him and encouraged all participants to individually write to their local members of parliament. so that they may support his motion. It stated : That this House recognises the 3rd International Day of Yoga on 21 June 2017 adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2014; notes that medical research has shown yoga has proven health benefits for a wide range of physical and mental problems; accepts that yoga is a means of maintaining good health outside of health services and offers a sustainable means for people and patients to care for themselves; further recognises that yoga empowers patients and restores them as agents of their own health and healing; and urges the consideration of yoga to be included as part of prevention and well-being initiatives for NHS staff and for yoga to be integrated within treatment for NHS patients.
During his keynote address Prof Nader proposed that in a scientific age it was important to bring out the scientific basis of Yoga and show the rationale behind Yoga’s benefits.
There were also two beautiful demonstrations of classical Indian Odissi dance from Vidhi Sodhi and from Ragasudha Vinjamuri whose confluence of music and dance paid tribute to the five elements of nature. Vidhi is currently working with Dr. Bernard Colaço, a consultant rheumatologist who is supervising an important pilot study at the Central Middlesex Hospital investigating the benefits of yoga therapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Through her powerful demonstration of Yoga breath work Carolina Naess a PhD student, dance and holistic therapist, pointed out that somatic movement and yogic breathing with the Sudarshan Kriya technique (as taught by the Art of Living Foundation) is a fast, cost effective and sustainable alternative to address the root cause of many mental health related issues in school children and youth as well as school teachers. It is a lifelong tool and invaluable gift, she added.
Paul Fox, chairman of British Wheel of Yoga, described how BWY were developing standards of Yoga teaching, ‘to promote best practice among its own members and to recognize it among others’. BWY has funded research at Northumbria University on the effects of Yoga on lower back pain.
Kalwant Sahota from the WL Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) exemplified her group’s engagement with British Wheel of Yoga, who are supporting yoga trials in their CCG.
Suki Kalirai, Chairman of Skills Active, expressed his wish that Yoga groups come together and speak with one voice.
The celebration in Parliament was originally scheduled for 21 June, the UN’s official International Yoga Day, but had to be postponed due to the rescheduling of the State Opening of Parliament to 21 June 2017 , said Amarjeet Bhamra member of the APPG Secretariat .
Dr Bernard Colaço, has been appointed as an honorary Advisor on Yoga to the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences.
Prof Madan Thangavelu elaborated on the Cost and Health Benefits of Indian Traditional Sciences and offered vote of thanks to members of the parliament, guests, all participants and the organisers.
Among the distinguished audience present on the occasion , Bhavini Vyas , National coordinator for the Sri Sri Yoga in UK and Jyoti Joshi from the Patanjali Foundation were present.