Yesterday June 21st was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, which is also known as the Summer Solstice. Back in December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. This declaration came after the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2014 wherein he stated;

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It 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. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. “

When I heard about this declaration it caught my eye and something stirred inside me. Yoga has brought so much into my life on a physical, mental and spiritual level. I felt it was my duty to my students, the United Nations, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his initiative, to myself, my higher spirit and to God to take part in the International Day of Yoga and to share the numerous and joyous benefits that yoga can bring to your life.

Therefore I decided to create a workshop to mark the occasion. I connected with other talented yoga teachers who also shared my desire and was motivated by the interest of my students who strive to improve their own life thus making the world a better place for all of us to live in.

Our workshop was sold out and we managed to raise over £700 for our two sponsored charities; The St Luke’s Hospice who care for people whose illnesses are no longer curable, enabling them to achieve the best possible quality of life during the final stages of their illness. As well as The Michael Green Foundation who work to raise the awareness of Type 2 Diabetes by promoting the benefits of a healthy way of life.

The workshop began with an introduction by each of the teachers followed by the charities as well as a formal address by Mr. Ashish Sharma the First Secretary of the Indian High Commission. We felt it was a blessing to have Mr Sharma join us to support our event.

The yoga practice then began with Neesha Radia, who took the students through a beautiful Sun Salutation flow allowing people to connect the breath and body together. The sequence drew upon the sun’s energy to develop the element of fire within the body and mind.

This was then followed by Varsha Khatri who taught various Asanas (postures) in a meditative and mindful manner. Students engaged with their breath to hold the postures for a length of time, which allowed them to work at a deeper level. Posture work develops a sense of fluidity within our being thus connecting the students to the element of water.

The breathing session was taught by Karupa Patel who allowed students to tap into the element of air by working with the power of our life force, our breath. Karupa guided students through the Yogic Breath which encouraged them to engage with a deep and full breath.

This was followed by a meditation session taught by myself where I explained and guided students through the Aum chant. When the Aum was chanted by all the teachers and the students there was an overwhelming spiritual energy which spread around the room. This energy encouraged students to tap into the element of Ether.

Students were then taken through a relaxation session with Anjna Vekaria. The session encouraged the students to ground their energy and connect to the element of Earth. Anjna took them through an inner journey giving them the opportunity to absorb all that they had experienced in the workshop.

Each session of the workshop engaged with the elements of Fire, Water, Air, Ether and Earth. Ayurveda, the sister subject to Yoga believes that everything in this universe is made up of these five great elements including our own being. Therefore we used each session to engage students with each element to give the workshop depth and structure.

We are proud to have been part of a worldwide initiative and we would like to thank everyone who joined us and supported us in making the event such a success! We will hope to mark the event again next year so watch this space!

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