Second annual International Yoga Day this year will be celebrated on Sunday June 19th in the UK

Preps underway in UK for International Yoga Day 2016 on Sunday, June 19th

Archana Venkatraman

Millions of yoga enthusiasts around the world are preparing for the second annual International Yoga Day which, this year will be celebrated on Sunday, June 19, 2016 across the UK. Wales is already gearing up to lead the celebrations with the UK’s “biggest ever yoga class” on Sunday arranged by the Honorary Consul of India for Wales, Raj Aggarwal OBE.

Honorary Consul of India for Wales, Raj Aggarwal OBE leads the Yoga practice sessions ahead of the Big day at his local pharmacy
Honorary Consul of India for Wales, Raj Aggarwal OBE leads the Yoga practice sessions ahead of the Big day at his local pharmacy

Raj Aggarwal, OBE has been practicing the ancient Indian physical, mental and spiritual discipline for some years and is organising the Welsh celebrations.

In preparation for the big day, Aggarwal took a small class with the current Miss Wales Ffiona Moyle, 23, Miss Swansea Sophie Bell, 18, and Miss Newport Georgia Phasey, 18, at his Central Pharmacy in Cardiff.

Aggarwal, a keen follower of Yoga is organizing the Welsh celebrations this year
Aggarwal, a keen follower of Yoga is organizing the Welsh celebrations this year

Led by First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, the Welsh organisers are expecting up to 1,000 people to attend the free yoga class between 10am and 11.30am on 19th June at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s National Indoor Athletics Centre (Cyncoed Campus).

Miss Wales Ffiona Moyle, Miss Swansea Sophie Bell, and Miss Newport Georgia Phasey prepare for International Yoga Day 2016 on June 19th
Miss Wales Ffiona Moyle, Miss Swansea Sophie Bell, and Miss Newport Georgia Phasey prepare for International Yoga Day 2016 on June 19th

The yoga class will include classes for different abilities, from complete beginners to veteran yogis, as well as a few surprise activities.

Together, the team aims to raise awareness and attract as many enthusiasts to participate on Sunday
Together, the team aims to raise awareness and attract as many enthusiasts to participate on Sunday

International Yoga Day – how it all started

Back in September 2014, during an address to UN General Assembly, PM Modi said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India and ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment - harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature.”

He suggested June 21 - the summer solstice - as the International Day of Yoga, adding: “The date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.

PM Modi leads the first ever International Yoga Day 2015 on June 21, summer solstice
PM Modi leads the first ever International Yoga Day 2015 on June 21, summer solstice

Acknowledging the universal appeal of yoga, the UN declared June 21 as International Yoga Day and over 175 nations co-sponsored the resolution - the highest number to ever co-sponsor such a resolution.

For this year’s celebrations, Wales’ Aggarwal added: “We are delighted that the First Minister will be joining us to celebrate International Yoga Day - a great opportunity for Cardiff and Wales as a whole to join the world in celebrating this timeless practice, which can be enjoyed by all; young or old, it does not discriminate and promotes respect for fellow human beings and the planet.

“For those new to yoga, this could be a taster, or for those experienced, a slightly different type of session to enjoy - the message is that all are welcome.”

Jones said: “I am pleased to take part in this global event to celebrate the 5000 year-old practice of yoga, which originated in North India. Wales has a strong relationship with India and we continue to develop our valued business ties.”

Many Britons see yoga as not just a physical activity to stay fit and healthy but also as an activity that allows people to relax and unwind from the stresses and strains of modern life and train their minds to focus.

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