'Yoga symbolises UN's strivings for world unity'

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United Nations, June 22 (IANS) Yoga symbolises the strivings of the world organisation for global unity, according to its leaders celebrating the International Day recognising the ancient discipline.  

UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis said on Friday that Yoga is "a powerful metaphor for the United Nations itself".

"Just as yoga brings together various aspects of the human experience to create a balanced whole, the United Nations unites diverse nations and cultures to work towards common goals," he said in a video message to the 10th International Day of Yoga celebrations here.

"In this unity distinct parts come together to form a unified sum greater than its parts, symbolising peace and harmony as we unite today in this celebration," he added.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who attended the event, said yoga's power to unify is visible at the celebrations at the UN.

"Yoga is about unity, the unity of mind, of body, and spirit. It is about you, it is about me and it's about us, and at the UN today, we see how it unites people across cultures and countries," she added.

She recalled last year's celebration with Prime Minister Narendra Modi which made the Guinness Book of World Records for the most nationalities practicing yoga together.

"That achievement was a wonderful and powerful symbol of yoga's global popularity, its universal appeal, and its power to bring people together in their shared interests and their shared humanity," she said.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a written message, "This year's theme -- 'Yoga for Self and Society' -- reminds us of yoga's important role in enhancing people's lives and wider community."

"Now embraced worldwide by people of all faiths and cultures, yoga unites people with its values of balance, mindfulness and peace with people and planet alike," he added.

As a gentle breeze from the East River wafted across the UN Headquarters North Lawn on a blistering hot day, the celebration featured a mass yoga exercise with the participation of diplomats and UN staff from across the world and invitees from the Indian diaspora clad in white and blue T-shirts emblazoned with the Yoga Day logo.

Denise Scotto, the Chair of the UN's International Day of Yoga Committee, said that it was "remarkable" that 177 countries co-sponsored the 2014 General Assembly resolution declaring June 21 the International Day of Yoga.

"It demonstrates the unity from across the globe," she added.

The UN Chamber Music Society performed Rabindranath Tagore's "Streams of Light" in Bengali.

The Indian Raga dance troupe performed classical dances, one of them incorporating "yoga postures".