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At UN Yoga Day, its potential to heal Covid's psychological scars recognises
United Nations, June 21 - The UN has celebrated the International Day of Yoga with leaders recognising its potential for helping heal the psychological scars of the Covid-19 pandemic and for taking the world towards environmental sustainability.
General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid said on Monday: "Today could not have come at a more opportune time as the Covid-19 pandemic has upended the lives and livelihoods triggering a deluge of anxiety and depression.
"The practice of yoga serves as a holistic approach to the physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being of humanity."
India's Permanent Representative T.S. Tirumurti said that the Yoga Day celebration was returning to the UN after two years "during which the Covid pandemic had upended the lives of people".
"During these difficult times, millions embraced yoga as their companion to stay healthy, to overcome depression and mental anxiety In recognition of this important role of yoga, this year's theme is 'Yoga for Humanity'," he said.
In 2014, the General Assembly declared June 21, the traditional solstice day when the sun shines the longest in the northern hemisphere, as the International Day of Yoga.
Since then, the day has been celebrated at the UN and around the world, although during the pandemic it was observed only virtually here.
New York City will celebrate the day at Times Square, considered the "Crossroads of the World", with the participation of India's Consulate General.
The celebrations there on the theme, 'Mind over Madness', will include yoga classes and demonstrations involving several thousand people throughout the day as it had last year despite the pandemic.
At the UN, where the celebration was held a day earlier, most of the attendees, including Shahid, wore white Tshirts emblazoned with the Yoga Day and "75 Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" logos and participated in yoga exercises on the lawn of the UN headquarters next to the East River.
Tirumurti said: "Yoga can also be an integral part of our 'Build Back Better' strategy. The essence of yoga is balance, not just balance within the body or that between the mind and body but also balance in the human relationship with planet earth."
Bhutan's Permanent Representative Doma Tshering said that "moderation, discipline and perseverance are all values with universal appeal that encourage a deeper sense of interconnectedness within community, society and the natural world around us as a pathway towards sustainable living".
"It is in consonance with the ethos of Bhutan's development philosophy of gross national happiness, that seeks to achieve harmonious balance, balance between material wellbeing on the one hand, and the spiritual, emotional and cultural needs of society on the other."
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed @arulouis)
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