Hundreds of school children in South Africa spread yoga mats and performed ‘asanas’ today to mark the third International Yoga Day here. A yoga event was organised by India with a determined focus to include children at a cricket stadium in Lenasia, the huge township here that is home to most of the Indians living in the economic hub of South Africa. More than 750 children participated in the event.
“We are having events for all age groups, but we are also concentrating on children because they are the future,” said Indian Consul General Dr K J Srinivasa, who expressed delight that the children of Lenasia had emulated what more than 1,000 of their counterparts in the neighbouring mainly Black township of Soweto had done in a park a day earlier.
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“This time we decided to do it with children in the iconic areas of Johannesburg so we reached out to Soweto yesterday, and Lenasia today, and the final event will be at Tolstoy Farm on Sunday,” he said. It has been proven through scientific study that yoga helps in memory concentration and tackling chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and bronchitis, the diplomat told PTI as headed for the headquarters of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for another yoga event there.
“We welcomed SABC and its staff who joined us at their studios for yoga and they are now interested in having yoga sessions every week. What better way than having the support of the national public broadcaster which will go a long way towards promoting yoga in South Africa,” Srinivasa said. As events have been hosted by the Indian missions in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town over the past week, Srinivasa said tens of thousands of South Africans of all communities who would otherwise not have known about the benefits of yoga are now aware of its benefits.
He said the exponential growth of interest in the International Day of Yoga since its inception three years ago was due to the support from the media and the scores of yoga schools in South Africa. The week will culminate on Sunday at a special yoga session at Tolstoy Farm, the commune started by Mahatma Gandhi during his tenure in Johannesburg at the turn of the 19th century.