A holistic aura engulfed the City Beautiful Tuesday morning as about 30,000 people of all age groups took part in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s International Yoga Day event here at the Capitol Complex. Many more took part in the event at other venues across the city. A Hindustan Times team visited a number of venues to assess the response to the much-awaited event.
The main venue of the event came alive early morning as the youth and not-so-young rubbed shoulders with each other doing yoga ‘asanas’. After the session, participants on their way back raised slogans and hands in appreciation of the age-old holistic science.
Bhushan Kumar, 63, a retired bank official, said, “It feels great that the PM is promoting healthy lifestyle through yoga. Having practised it myself for the past 8 years, I can vouch for its advantages.” He was all praise for the ‘smooth conduct of the event’. A 28-year-old computer professional from Chandigarh, Ankita Mahajan, who is counting on yoga to get rid of backache, said, “There was a sense of unity and positivity filled the air. The highlight of course was the presence of the PM.” Her friend, Sunira, 24, a student of Panjab Unversity, said, “It was great to know how yoga can help cure diabetes from the PM.”
Naveen Kumar, who had been a yoga instructor with the Punjab government for 20 years, said, “I wish the weather was not as humid, as people were a bit restless. However, people calmed down as they performed yoga. That’s what yoga does.”
Sector 16 stadium
The heavy rain on Monday evening played the spoilsport as the ground was wet with water pools here and there. Though the entry was open for all and live coverage of the yoga event from the Capitol Complex was being screened there, but only a handful of people reached the venue. An official at the stadium claimed that people had reached the stadium before 6am and they were taken to the Capitol Complex in buses. Ravinder, a constable with Chandigarh Police, who reached the venue to be a part of the event, said, “We have been attending rehearsals at the stadium for 15 days. I have been practicing yoga from many years and am really happy to see it getting recognition at the international level. I will go to Panjab University to attend the session there.”
Experts may have been telling that the benefits of the yoga are the maximum if the ‘asanas’ are done when the stomach is empty, it wasn’t the case at Panjab University (PU). There was arrangement of heavy refreshments for the participants. Bananas, juice and ‘pakodas’ were being distributed until five minutes before the yoga session began at the varsity’s cricket ground. Some of the participants could be seen eating even after they had taken there seats for performing yoga.
Some youths left in the middle of the session and when the organizers tried to stop them, they said they were getting late for their coaching classes.
The cops were keeping a close eye on participants to ensure that each one left the venue with only a single mat.
Below, a kid talks about yoga, at Panjab University:
Lata Devi, 63, performed ‘asanas’ for 10 minutes and then took a break to catch her breath. She said, “I came here at the insistence of my grandchildren. I believe that people of my age should do yoga and the administration should provide us trainers.” Priya, 9, a student of DAV School, Sector 15, who was one of the participants, said, “I have come with my classmates and teachers. I think yoga helps in making us feel fresh and calm. Everybody should do yoga daily.”
Monkey menace at PU
Monkeys gave some terrified moments to the yoga enthusiasts at Panjab University. However, security guards were quick to come to the rescue of the participants.
Low attendance at government schools
The participation in sessions at city’s government schools was comparatively low. Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, saw relatively larger number of students and teachers attending the yoga session, while only a handful turned up at Sectors 15 and 16. The periphery schools also received a lukewarm response.