Promoting yoga among Pinoys

MANILA — Young athletes and hundreds of police officers stretched and bent their bodies during the 4th International Day of Yoga organized by the India Embassy on Sunday in Muntinlupa City.

Yoga, which originated in India, is more than just stretching the body and sweating the toxins. It also helps calm the mind, and improves posture and breathing.

Wearing loose-fitting clothes, participants roll their mats and tried the different yoga positions during the session.

Police Officer 1 Michelle Moises, a member of the National Capital Region Police Office Fitness Team, said she will likely continue doing yoga following the initiative led by the embassy.

“In our work, it’s very stressful, more so if you handle a number of cases. I want to continue it (yoga),” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“As a police officer or a policewoman, this is a big help, particularly in our field where you need to be physically fit. Yoga helps you balance your focus, it also heals your body and mind,” she said in Filipino.

For 14-year-old Naomi Torrado, a member of the Muntinlupa Chess Team, yoga serves as a perfect side activity because it harnesses not only the physical but also mental strength.

“I think yoga is good for us athletes, particularly us chess players, because we are using more of the mind. It exercises our body and mind,” she said.

The sessions were divided into five: Yoga Protocol, Hatha Yoga, Kirtan Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Vinsaya and Kundalini Yoga, and Meditation.

Yoga promotion

It was in 2014 when India Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed at a United Nations General Assembly that June 21st be declared the International Day of Yoga.

Yoga is largely identified with the Asian country, but India Ambassador to the Philippines Jaideep Mazumdar stressed that “it has such universal benefits it is now practiced all over the world.”

In the Philippines, he remains optimistic the practice of yoga will further flourish as the Philippines and India have a joint working group on health and medicine, which was focused on further promoting the practice among Filipinos.

“Filipinos, by nature, are very open to new things, they want to try or experience new things. Filipinos have really taken yoga in a big way as I can see and it can only grow from here,” Mazumdar said.

“Last April, yoga and other forms of non-traditional health were discussed by the Department of Health and India, and how we can help the Philippines in this respect,” Mazumdar added.

Ronald Cardema, assistant secretary and commissioner of the National Youth Commission, told reporters that they plan to guide the Sangguniang Kabataan in including yoga as one of their community projects.

“Yoga is there thousands of years in India. It promotes harmony in the mind and the body, it relaxes you, and it removes stress and fatigue. It’s already spread throughout the world, here in the Philippines, we want to spread it among the Filipino youth,” Cardema said.

“In all youth activities, we want to include yoga,” he added. Joyce Ann Rocamora/