UNIFIL’s Indian peacekeepers organize mass yoga session
UNIFIL’s Indian peacekeepers, operating in the UN Mission’s Sector East, celebrated the fifth International Day of Yoga today together with the population of south Lebanon and fellow peacekeepers at their main base near Ibil al-Saqi.
Sector East Commander Brigadier General Rafael Colomer Martinez Del Peral inaugurated the event, in which approximately 400 yoga enthusiasts including troops from various UNIFIL battalions and representatives of various community organizations participated.
Lebanese yoga instructors – Dunia Najar, Carla Moukarzel and Dana Shamsaldin along with their teams – conducted the yoga sessions in the UNIFIL base.
At the end of today’s event, Brig. Gen. Martinez Del Peral expressed satisfaction to see the art of yoga being practiced by the people of Lebanon with “so much passion and dedication.”
INDBATT Commander, Colonel Jeevan B, said, “I am elated to know that yoga, an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition, is being practiced by the people of Lebanon and we would be glad to hold many such interactions in the future too.”
One month prior to the Day, UNIFIL’s Indian Battalion had launched a “Yoga Awareness Drive” amongst the local population by conducting 12 camps in Ibil el-Saqi, Rachaya Al Fukar and Souk El Khan in south-east Lebanon.
Since the UN General Assembly endorsed, on 11 December 2014, a proposal from India, proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, UNIFIL’s Indian Battalion has been organizing mass yoga sessions to mark the Day.
Such sessions also serve as an opportunity to interact with the host population, which is key to enhancing mutual trust and confidence between UNIFIL and the population.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word “yoga” derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. The global theme for this year’s Yoga Day observances is “Yoga for Climate Action.”