Worldwide the International Day of Yoga was celebrated by centres and ashrams. Programs were conducted by teachers in Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Netherlands and USA.
Blessed Self, Hari Om
The first International Day of Yoga in Bulgaria was a wonderful celebration of yoga!
It was held in several cities (at least nine) so all yoga centres in the local community could work together.
In Sofia it was held in the National Palace of Culture in the same hall where in 2008 Swami Niranjan's seminar was held. The program was conducted in the big hall and two adjacent smaller halls. Entrance was free. The program for the events in Bulgaria can be seen on the site of the Indian Embassy in Sofia. It was streamed live on www.youtube.com.
In the big hall was the official introduction in which the participants could hear the video greeting by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and then a greeting by the Indian Ambassador in Sofia who was present the whole day.
Then three other greetings by very well-known Bulgarians were read – by Irina Bokova (The Director General of UNESCO), Kristalina Georgieva (Vice-President of the Budget and Human Resources Committee in the European Commission) who mentioned in her letter that many of her colleagues in Brussels attend yoga classes, and Yordanka Fandukova (the Mayor of Sofia). In their letters they mentioned the importance of yoga and it's value for people in the modern world.
Swami Vivekamurti, Bulgarian Yoga Association
At 9 a.m., the program was held at the Hotel Corfu Palace.
During an Indian breakfast kirtan was conducted by Swami Savikalpananda and sannyasins Ananda Jyoti, Antaratma and Atmashanti.
From 9 to 11 p.m., a Kirtan Concert was held at the Museum of Asian Art with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Corfu Mantzaros.
The concert was attended by 1300 people approximately. This is the first time ever in Greece and Europe that the Philharmonic Orchestra plays kirtan. It took two months for the musicians to prepare the notes and partitions for these kirtans. The orchestra 'Mantzaros' is one of the oldest philharmonic orchestras which was founded in 1890.
The Director of the Museum of Asian Art, Mrs Despoina Zernioti, welcomed the concert.
Sannyasi Atmashanti gave a presentation of yoga.
The Artistic Director of the Municipal Theater of Corfu, Petros Galias, recited a poem by Paramahamsaji.
Kirtan with Swami Savikalpananda, Sannyasins Ananda Jyoti and Antaratma and the Philharmonic Society 'Mantzaros' ended the program.
In Ireland the teachers in each County got together to organize the celebration for their students.
During the week leading up to the celebration the flier from BSY was distributed to all students, which was an inspiration in itself. In Cork we ran the morning class from 8.30 am as Ireland is not a nation of early risers, and the response was good with a mix of new and established students, some bringing their young family members for an introduction to yoga.
We followed the session with breakfast for the participants; this gave a chance for the students to meet each other and for us to chat to them to answer questions and explain more fully the benefits of yoga practised daily and the steps to establish this.
It was a very inspiring process to see the joy it brought to all who participated and the connection it created between people as it unfolded how many places were celebrating yoga on this day, not only around Ireland but around the world. It has created a strong base on which to progress this growth of understanding yoga as a way of life that is with each of us all day and not just for the 'class' time.
This year we have taken the first small steps but already are working on ways to allow it to grow in the months ahead.
We all thank the work and vision of Swami Satyananda that allows the whole world to now benefit in a very real way to keep inspiration strong and the desire to keep the effort going to attain to the vision he gave. Om Tat Sat.
Hari Om Blessed Self
Best wishes to all of you on the first International Day of Yoga.
Sri Swamiji's vision of raising the Yoga Flag on planet earth is accomplished where all humankind for one DAY have been united in JOY LIKE A HUGE WAVE IN THE OCEAN. This will definitely create a creative and collective vibration to be discovered.
My humble pranams and gratitude for the endless opportunities that Sri Swamiji's mission has provided to all of us around the globe. Om Tat Sat.
Kamal Mukhi, Spain
The celebration in Colombia was divided into two events; first, the program done by the Academia de Yoga Satyananda in Bogotá, followed by the program organized by the Indian Embassy in Colombia.
The Academy in Colombia, upon receiving the protocol sent by Bihar School of Yoga, informed all of its associates, students, friends and benefactors about the celebration that was going to take place. At 6 am on the designated day, a group of students gathered to do the proposed sadhana and then had breakfast offered by the Academy. A small souvenir was given to all the attendees commemorating the day's events. At 6 pm that same day, another group of students attended the evening sadhana. All were very enthusiastic and many mentioned that the protocol that was executed would become their personal sadhana from that day onwards.
With the help of the local authorities of Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla and Pasto, the Indian Embassy organized events in each one of the above-mentioned cities. In Bogotá, a National Park was chosen to gather the crowds to celebrate this well-announced event. All the local yoga schools in each city were contacted to help spread the news of the planned programs. In Bogotá, 18 schools contributed to make this historic event a success. The Academia de Yoga Satyananda sent a large group of teachers that volunteered to help the attendees perform the asanas in a correct way, according to the protocol sent by the Indian Government which was presented on a huge screen at the park.
More than 500 people gathered at 10 am to attend the event. The master of ceremonies was the president of the 'Amigos de la India' organization, and after a few words of introduction, the Indian Ambassador in Colombia explained the purpose of the day and reminded the attendees that the approval by the UN of the initiative to celebrate the International Day of Yoga was supported by 177 countries, an unprecedented event in the history of the UN.
For two hours, with great respect and devotion, the attendees followed the instructions displayed on the large screens. The program ended with a universal prayer for peace and harmony in Colombia.
It was a wonderful experience to recognize the tremendous accomplishments of Bihar School of Yoga and its affiliates who have worked tirelessly to spread the teachings of yoga around the world. It is remarkable to think that what Sri Swamiji said more 50 years ago has become a reality. Yoga has become a world culture and clearly it is already changing the course of the events in the world.
The sankalpa ushered by Bihar School of Yoga on this day, to incorporate the yogic components into our daily routine and to live the yogic principles, will be kept in our minds throughout the coming year and forever. Hari Om Tat Sat.
Academia de Yoga Satyananda, Bogotá