THE inaugural United Nations (UN) International Yoga Day will be held all day long on June 21 at Guildford Recreation Centre in Surrey. This Festival event is organized by the UN International Yoga Day – Planning Committee with the supportive participation of over 30 yoga and holistic health communities in Surrey and the Lower Mainland. Their mission is to celebrate this historic and sacred day, and pay homage to the great rishis (sages) and yogis of India. Indeed, it is their reverent and unwavering tenacity, discipline and humility that safeguarded the traditional teachings of the ancient science of yoga for the benefit of the world.
The festival will share the ancient tradition teachings of yoga with the diverse cultures and general public. The all-day program will share a traditional yoga program, laughter, dancing, music and sattvic (yogic) vegetarian meals. There will be a retail market displaying yoga wear and accessories for fundraising purposes. A portion of the proceeds of the retail market shall go to a select charity.
Joined by the Consul General of India Ravi Shankar Aisola, Swami Satyaprakash Ji, Harpreet Singh and local dignitaries, prayers and the ceremonial lighting of the lamp will usher in the official program. An afternoon and evening sattvic (yogic) meal will be served, and a variety of yoga presentations and music program will be shared throughout the day.
History of yoga:
Without a minimal understanding of yoga, it is difficult to appreciate the significance of the resolution to celebrate an International Yoga Day. The ancient sages of India had developed an integral system called yoga to keep the physical and mental faculties fit and healthy and to slow down the inevitable decay of the body organs. Yogic practices are complete in its revamping of the entire system – the physical body, the mental body and the energy body. Like every scientific theory; yoga also offers a very practical and systematically designed technique. The system of yoga maintains that every matter in this cosmos, from the most prevalent to the most subtle, is vibrant with life. Modern science agrees with it in that even inside the tiniest particle of atom, there is incredible movement. If there is movement, it is being caused by some energy and that energy, yoga stresses, is the basis of all life.
It is estimated that close to 250 million people around the world practice yoga (in some form or another) – majority of them in India, over 20 million of them in the United States and over 2 million in Canada.
10 a.m.: Opening Ceremony – Swami Dr. Satya Prakash and two dignitaries will be invited to light the ceremonial lamp with Vedic chanting; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message; United Nation’s message; Comments by Consul General of India and government dignitaries of B.C. and Surrey.
10:30-11 a.m.: History and Knowledge of Yoga (Swami Dr. Satya Prakash)
11 a.m.-12 p.m.: Yoga Asanas (Swami Dr. Satya Prakash will demonstrate and will take attendees through the UN Common Protocol for Yoga Program)
12-1 p.m.: Lunch break / afternoon meal
1-2:30 p.m.: Demonstration and reflection on traditional yoga and yoga history of Vancouver – Jnana Yoga (Swami Dr. Satya Prakash, Dr. Preeti Misra, Sivakumar Varma and other known yoga practitioners of B.C.)
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Laughter yoga; kids yoga: yoga games; yoga dance
3:30-4 p.m.: Meditation (Swami Dr. Satya Prakash)
4-6 p.m.: Bhakti Yoga (Musical celebration and closing)
6-7 p.m.: Dinner break / evening meal
7-8 p.m.: Karmic Seva – cleanup