The International Day of Yoga will this year be celebrated from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on 18 June in front of the Victor Statue at Kalemegdan, as organized by the Embassy of India with support from the City of Belgrade.
Yoga, which originated in India centuries ago, is becoming more and more popular today in the world beset by many challenges. More than a billion people see yoga as a way to enhance their physical, mental, spiritual and intellectual wellbeing.
“The beauty of yoga lies in its simplicity. All it requires is some time and a little space. In this day and age, where fast paced lifestyles and packed routines are the norm, yoga assures inner peace and tranquility. The rise in lifestyle-related, non-communicable diseases has also drawn many people to yoga,” experts say.
Over the last two years, according to their estimate, the planet has valiantly fought a once-in-a-century pandemic in the form of COVID-19. Among the many learnings from the last two years is the critical importance of remaining fit and boosting one’s natural immunity, and yoga has a key role in that.
The Embassy of India says it highly appreciates the Government of Serbia’s continued support for the marking of the International Day of Yoga during these past eight years. Last year, this day was celebrated in 19 towns of Serbia and more 1000 Yoga lovers participated.
These celebrations of the Yoga Day are organized by the Embassy of India with support of different Serbian organizations engaged in teaching of yoga. This year’s event is assisted by Vidya Yoga, Mohanji Foundation and Isha Foundation.
In 2015, the United Nations introduced the International Day of Yoga, which was an acceptance by the world at large. Upon India’s proposal, the United Nations, or its 175 member states, including Serbia, adopted the resolution on yoga.
Ambassador of India in Belgrade Sanjiv Kohli says that yoga practice is recommended to everyone to achieve good health, stability, peace and calm.
“In India, a large number of people practice yoga regularly, both individually and in groups. Of course, it helps if there is a yoga practitioner in the family as it inspires others in the family to do the same as yoga is recognized as a way of living better,” Kohli says.
He underlines that good health and sound mind contribute to leading a healthy, happy and long life.
The founder and owner of the Vidya yoga school Dragan Lončar says that the number of people practicing yoga in Serbia is increasing day by day, as well as the number of trained yoga instructors.
He says that back in 1982, when he started holding yoga classes, Belgrade was a home to just five yoga teachers, and today there are much more.
Since 2008, yoga in Serbia has been regulated by law as the Ministry of Health recognized it as a method for improving people’s health.
“Yoga is a complex discipline which can respond to the needs of our multidimensional being, and depending on where we are at, or where we find our shelter, we will apply an appropriate yoga technique.” Lončar says.
Member of the National Expert Committee on Complementary Medicine of the Serbian Ministry of Health Gordana Marković says “across the world there has been a growing interest in the holistic approach to disase prevention and treatment, as offered by the traditional medicine”.
Among the most popular are ayurveda and yoga, ancient Indian methods that are practiced to this day, in accordance with principles applied for several thousand years.
“Ayurvedic knowledge and pulse diagnosis as its integral part make it possible for us to get to know our body type and our current physiological state and give us clear guidelines as to how to apply a tailored dietary regime and bring our everyday activities in line with nature and its cycles, and better not only our health, but also our life,” says Marković.
In addition to this, the regular practice of carefully selected yoga asanas ensures an optimum physical activity aligned to every individual, thus contributing to a better body flexibility, strength and overall balance.
Marković says there is an increasing number of medical studies confirming the positive effects of regular application of ayurvedic recommendations and yoga practice, like boosting immunity, ensuring a hormonal balance, balanced digestion and a better flexibility of bones and joints, better complexion, better sleep, focus, tolerance of stressful situations, and improved reproductive function in women and men.
For almost 15 years, Serbian law has been recognizing ayuveda as a diagnostic method for treatment and rehabilitation, and yoga as a method to maintain and improve health.