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Israel celebrated International Yoga Day
More than 500 yoga enthusiasts gathered from all over Israel to participate in the day-long International Yoga Day celebrations here, demonstrating the immense popularity enjoyed by the ancient Indian tradition in the country.

Photo: Embassy of India in Israel

In a colourful display at the picturesque Tel Aviv port, enthusiasts practised various forms of the discipline the whole day under a massive tent erected right next to a sea with the constant breeze adding the zing to the event. 

Thousands of passersby could not resist the temptation to stop by and see the show with many of those unaware with the old Indian tradition making enquiries about it. 

"Yoga is India's gift to the world. I have been very lucky to be exposed to Yoga right from my childhood as my mother is a Yoga teacher. I am happy to see this great gift acquiring international recognition and spreading to every part of the globe," Koren, a tour guide from north of Israel, told PTI. 

Israel, with a total population of less than 8 million, has about 1000 yoga teachers teaching various streams of Yoga such as Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bhrigu Yoga and Shivananda Yoga. 

"I got attracted to Yoga during my five months of travel in India last year. After coming back here i kept on thinking about joining some yoga centre but somehow kept postponing it, Itay, a young India enthusiast, said. 

"When i saw advertisements regarding the International Yoga Day celebrations, i could not hold myself and have taken a leave to come here. It has been a great feeling and i am now certain that i will start practising yoga," Itay added. 

Given the overwhelming response to the event, the Indian mission in Israel has decided to arrange a 40-minute yoga session at several elementary schools across the country. 

"Many people go to India in search of answers. Some find it in yoga, a complete exercise of the body, mind and spirit. The purpose is to attain internal peace, balance and harmony. Those who seek it within themselves do so with others. It can be a powerful means of connecting ordinary people and reconciling their differences", Indian Ambassador to Israel Jaideep Sarkar told the participants at the event. 

Yoga is not new to Israel as universities in the country have been offering courses, especially emphasising on the philosophical aspect of the discipline, which have been hugely popular among the students of Indian studies. 

"India in any case enjoys higher moral standing in the world and its efforts to acquaint the world with such aspects of its culture is only going to add value to this standing," said Michal, a student but a non-practitioner of yoga. 

Jayant Kumar Bhaduri, a doctor of Ayurveda and an expert on Yoga and Tantra, held a special session emphasising the spiritual aspect of yoga and its usefulness in daily life, attracting a huge response from the participants. 

The event concluded with classical Indian musical and dance performances by local artists.


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