On Sunday about 8,000 Kenyans streamed into the University of Nairobi Grounds, picked up a complimentary package including a T-shirt and mat and proceeded to spend four hours contorting their bodies into various shapes and breathing deeply. It’s called Yoga and its spreading like wildfire.
In 2014 at the urging of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the United Nations named June 21 the International Yoga Day to raise awareness of the benefits of this 5,000 year old Indian tradition.
” Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being,” the Indian Premier told the UN in his pitch.
” The day is on Tuesday but we decided to celebrate on Sunday because it’s easier to do that,” Vishal Shah of the organising Committee explains.
The event was graced by Indian High Commission to Kenya Suchitra Durai, The Director General at the United Nations Office Nairobi Sahle-Work Zewde, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts Dr.Hassan Wario, industrialist Manu Chandaria, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and Bidco Africa CEO Vimal Shah.
In her address, Indian High Commission Suchitra Durai challenged those who were doing yoga for the first time to make it a practice because it comes with a number of benefits to the human body.
“Yoga is the highest form of purification and self-discipline which prepares us for a deeper experience of meditation.”
Bidco Africa CEO Vimal Shah a daily Yoga practitioner was effusive about its benefits.
“Yoga is a way to align our bodies with the mind and at the same time become one with nature and the universe. It’s improves your health and your happiness. Plus its simple and free-no gym required,” he said.
For many in attendance it was their first time doing Yoga and they had positive reviews.
Truphosa Njeri, a third year student at The University of Nairobi was one of those who converted.
” I love the calmness of it; I am a hot tempered lady and these techniques will help me develop a calm personality,” she said.
For George an American football player in Kenya Yoga is a way to keep track of his body and fitness.
“My game is a contact sport and Yoga will help me take care of myself better and avoid injuries or heal faster. I am definitely taking it up. Plus its fun. “