2,500 register for International Yoga Day event at Washington monument

All ambassadors and representatives of UN organisations have been invited to the event.
Representational Photo
Representational Photo

The iconic Washington Monument is set witness a record ofsorts on Sunday, when more than 2,500 people will gather in the US capital tomeditate and celebrate the fifth International Day of Yoga by flexing theirbody in multiple complex postures.

For the third time, the Washington Monument – that faces theNational Mall overlooking the US Congress – would host the International YogaDay celebrations. This would be possibly the largest gathering of a free yogaevent in Washington, given the enthusiasm of health-conscious people.

So far, more than 2,500 people have registered for the eventon June 16.

Following a proposal moved by India on December 11, 2014,the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Dayof Yoga.

"We are seeing a robust response to our call forparticipation at the fifth International Day of Yoga at the iconic WashingtonMonument on Sunday, June 16. The event has already received over 2,500registrations," the Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla,told PTI.

The event is being organised by the Indian Embassy inassociation with more than 20 organisations.

And as an added incentive, Shringla said, the embassy has scheduleda vegetarian food festival immediately after the yoga event as part the 150thbirth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.

Since his arrival in January 2019, Shringla has beenspearheading efforts for successfully organising the yoga day, which in fiveyears has become a sought-after event in Washington. He has chaired apreparatory meeting of embassy officers and representatives of the partnerorganisations.

All ambassadors and representatives of UN organisations havebeen invited to the event.

Representatives from various wings of the US government andthe Congress are also likely to attend it.

"Over the last few years, the popularity of yoga hasincreased manifold in the US. I am told there are now about 36 million yogapractitioners in the country. And this is good news!" Shringla said.

To quote Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "Yoga hasevolved as a way to achieve a healthy living and combines physical, mental andspiritual pursuits to achieve harmony of the body and mind. Its appeal todayhas truly transcended cultural and linguistic boundaries and it has become aglobal phenomenon," he said.

The proposal to declare the International Day of Yoga wasfirst moved by Modi in his maiden address to the UN General Assembly onSeptember 27, 2014.

Then permanent representative of India to the UN AshokMukherji introduced the draft resolution in the UNGA on December 11, 2014. Itwas co-sponsored by a record 177 countries.

For the event this year, the Indian embassy has mounted anactive promotion campaign through its social media channels and website.

It has been running a Facebook ad campaign targetingindividuals within 25 miles of DC, and individuals with interest in meditation,LuLulemon, yoga and yoga-related activities. The advertisement is expected toreach around a million people by June 15.

In the run up to the event, more than 12 curtain raiserevents have been organised at various locations across the US, includingMaryland, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. Several other promotionalprogrammes have also been held.

The Indian embassy reached out to yoga studio owners andteachers to ensure participation from American yoga enthusiasts.

The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall,built to commemorate George Washington, the first US president.

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