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Canada to host largest gathering of yoga enthusiasts in North America

Canada is set to host the largest gathering of yoga enthusiasts at a single venue in North America on June 24.

world Updated: Jun 19, 2017 18:59 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Canada
Businessman Satish Thakkar, who is chair of the non-profit that will organise the June 24 event in Canada related to International Day of Yoga.(HT Photo)

As Canada marks the 150th year of its confederation, an Indo-Canadian non-profit is seeking to brings its own touch to the national celebration by hosting the largest gathering of yoga enthusiasts at a single venue in North America.

The event, scheduled for June 24 at the International Center in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, is being organised by International Yoga Day Canada (IYDC) and will also segue into the third iteration of the International Day of Yoga-related activities across the world.

The organisers expect to attract nearly 10,000 participants to the meet, making it the “largest congregation of yoga practitioners” in North America, and possibly the biggest outside India.

As part of the effort, the IYDC event will feature two headliners - Baba Ramdev, founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth, and Sister Shivani of the Brahma Kumaris - to lead the two sessions that will comprise the schedule for the day.

Satish Thakkar, chair of IYDC’s board of directors, said, “The 2017 International Yoga Day celebrations are coinciding with Canada’s 150th birthday. Through our program, we want to take the benefits of yoga to all Canadians to promote wellness and build a healthier and happier Canadian society.”

“This is unique since the topmost yoga institutions have decided to come together under one umbrella for this event,” said Dinesh Bhatia, India’s consul general in Toronto.

India’s consul general in Toronto, Dinesh Bhatia, speaks at a function announcing the event related to the International Day of Yoga celebrations in Canada. (HT Photo)

Among these are Patanjali Yogpeeth, the Art of Living, BKS Iyengar Yoga, Isha Foundation, Brahma Kumaris, Sivananda Yoga and others. “We wanted to create a platform where all institutions can participate together,” Thakkar, who is president of the Toronto-based company Excelsior Financial Group, said.

Four cities in the Greater Toronto Area, Brampton, Markham, Milton and Richmond Hill, are partnering with IYDC.

Response to the planned programme has been heartening for the organisers since they had to close online registrations because the numbers were exceeding the capacity at the venue. The event will also be broadcast live on an Indo-Canadian channel and streamed online.

“International Yoga Day aims to raise awareness of the many benefits of practicing yoga,” Bhatia said.

The quick uptake of the public invitation to participate in the event is no surprise since Canada is a country where its Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is known for his striking yoga asanas while the country’s capital Ottawa is promoting Yoga on the Hill among the highlights of the “summer of celebration” as the 150th anniversary approaches on July 1.