Your Excellency Mr. Rajeev Shahare, the High Commissioner of India to the Maldives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalaamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakaathuh
At the outset let me wish you all Ramadhan Kareem. I hope you and your families have a blessed and peaceful Holy month of Ramadan.
I am deeply honored to be part of this celebration to mark the first International Yoga Day. Special events have been organized throughout the day here in Maldives, and around the world. On behalf of the Government of Maldives I would like to extend greetings of the day to the Government of India. I would also like to congratulate High Commissioner Shahare for organizing the events.
Prime Minister Modi made a call at the United Nations General Assembly last year, and the world listened. The Maldives was one of the first countries to co-sponsor the Resolution that declared 21 June as the International Yoga Day. In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Prime Minister Modi had said that the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.
I am sure you would agree with me that yoga offers a complete solution for a healthy life style. This is specially significant in today’s age where the stress of modern life is linked to a rapid increase in lifestyle related diseases. Yoga is a discipline that originated in India more than five thousand years ago. The origins of Yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions. Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the West in the late 19th and early 20th century. It became increasingly popular in the West in the 1980’s.
Yoga is, however, more than just a physical exercise; it places a great emphasis on breathing techniques and the inner experience of meditation for the well-being of the mind. Yoga has been accepted around the world mainly because it requires one to do simple and gentle exercises, and yet, they have a powerful impact. The physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple in contemporary times. Yoga brings many health and physical benefits and cultivates a sense of inner peace and self-determination in life.
It is an interesting co-incidence that the first International Yoga Day is marked in the Holy Month of Ramadhan, or the fasting month for Muslims. Fasting and Yoga both complement each other and together promote a healthier life style. Fasting helps us to experience what true hunger is. This is important in a world where there still are hundreds of thousands of people dying of hunger. We know that fasting has many health benefits. It has also been established that fasting improves brain function and self-discipline. It allows us to feel better both mentally and physically. Both fasting and Yoga cleanses our bodies making it lighter and our minds more focused.
Fasting and Yoga teach us the value of creating harmony among human beings and harmony between human beings and nature. Yoga’s ability to create inner peace in individuals in turn, helps in facilitating a more peace-loving society. That is exactly the discipline we require in addressing the challenges of our time and in moving forward together as a society in nation-building. Peace and contentment are hallmarks of yoga.
I once again wish to congratulate High Commissioner Shahare, and the Indian Cultural Center for the excellent preparations put together to celebrate the First International Day of Yoga here in the Maldives. The Indian Cultural Center has conducted several excellent yoga programs throughout the years. Many Maldivians have taken interest and continue to reap benefits from it. I hope that the enthusiasm and awareness of the benefits of yoga will continue to prosper and grow in our community.
“A healthy body is home to a healthy mind, and yoga is the path to understand your body and mind better. Practicing yoga on a regular basis brings focus, skill in action and emotional balance in life. It also calms and rejuvenates your mind, empowering you to deal with life in a much better way.”
Thank you all.
Wa salaamu alaikum