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    Sri Lanka Army Hosts Official Ceremony of 6th ‘International Yoga Day’ at AHQ

    June 22, 2020


    The Sri Lanka Army, adding renewed recognition to age-old ties of goodwill and friendship in collaboration with the High Commission of India, rolled out the inauguration of the sixth edition of the ‘International Yoga Day’ (21 June) at the Sri Jayawardenepura Army Headquarters yesterday morning (21) with playing of video messages of HE the President of Sri Lanka and Hon Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi during Sri Lanka’s official opening of the ceremony for the International Yoga Day, a gesture that reflected the high-profile regard the High Commission of India has attached to the Yoga followers in Sri Lankan armed forces.

    Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) june (21) lent a rousing reception to the day's Chief Guest, HE Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka and accompanying distinguished Indian delegation, inclusive of Yoga instructors on arrival at the Army HQ and ushered them to the main area where the day's main spectacle were to take place. With introductory welcome notes, the floor was laid open to the video message of HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, followed by the special video message of the Prime Minister of India, Hon Narendra Modi.

    Next, the stage with Instructors and Army personnel was set to experience a demonstration of this ancient mind-body healing practice, through which the Sri Lanka Army over the past few years has been benefited as regular Yoga exercises have been used to enhance the mental and physical robustness of soldiers and their mental stability. The first milestone and formal country commemoration of the International Yoga Day inside the Army HQ premises with the concurrence of the Ministry of Foreign Relations was made possible due to sound relations that prevail between both Nations and commitment of the Army for promotion of this ancient physical art in Sri Lanka.

    After the demonstration of several Yoga postures, the day’s host, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva addressed the floor and expressed his deep gratitude to the High Commission of India for honouring the Sri Lanka Army by staging this official function of international significance at the Army HQ. The purpose of the first of this kind of event at the Army HQ was to create a broad-based awareness about the benefits of Yoga for all members of the Armed Forces and also to introduce this art to budding young ones in future, Lieutenant General Silva remarked.

    High Commissioner of India, HE Gopal Baglay in his brief address to the occasion minced no words to thank the Army Chief for hosting the international event at a time the whole world was trying to strike a balance between the mind and the body. To symbolize his appreciation of the Army arrangement and the interest demonstrated, the Indian High Commissioner awarded a special memento to the Army Chief and the day’s host in turn reciprocated the gesture awarding a similar memento on the same occasion. The proceedings were also simultaneously telecast and attracted the troops joining the session at Panagoda Army Cantonment and the Eastern Naval Command, Naval and Maritime Academy Gymnasium at Trincomalee. The arrangements culminated with refreshments.

    A 16-member delegation of the Indian High Commission, including Deputy High Commissioner, Defence Adviser, Dr Rewant Vikram Singh, Director, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre renowned Yoga Instructors attended the day’s programme, coordinated by Lieutenant Colonel Ravi Mishra, Assistant Defence Adviser, High Commission of India. Live pictures of Sri Lanka’s inaugural ceremony that went on for about 90 minutes at the Army HQ were simultaneously beamed around the world through patronage of the High Commission of India.

    The notion of declaring an International Yoga Day was first proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on September 27, 2014 during his speech at the UN General Assembly, where a resolution to establish June 21 as the International Yoga Day was adopted after HE the UN Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji introduced the commemoration beginning the year 2015.

    Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition which embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being of mankind. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on 21 June since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014.





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