On Saturday morning 16 June 2018 the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) held its first Day of Yoga at its Headquarters, which gathered over 150 masters and fans of this ancient Indian practice. This sports and educational event was organised by the SCO Secretariat, the Embassy of the Republic of India in China and the company YogiYoga.
"The SCO Summit ended in Qingdao several days ago. The leaders of the SCO member countries focused on the development of cultural and humanitarian cooperation with special emphasis on the importance of sport as an effective instrument of promoting dialogue between nations. They also expressed their firm conviction that, along with other sporting events, marking the International Day of Yoga would further promote the consolidation of friendship, understanding and harmony," said SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov, addressing his colleagues on the SCO "green lawn."
He noted that yoga is one of the symbols of unifying people that strive to preserve and improve their physical and mental health. "Everyone can afford to practice yoga — there are no restrictions on age, strength or ability," he said.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to China Gautam Bambawale thanked Mr Alimov for the excellent organisation of this major event and expressed hope for the establishment of a tradition to celebrate the International Day of Yoga at the SCO Secretariat. He invited all those present to take part in group yoga practice under the guidance of the Yoga guru Mohan who was specially invited from India.
The singing of tropical birds, the soft streams of the Sun hiding behind fluffy clouds and a light breeze facilitated the atmosphere of a group yoga workout. Guests followed the guru's charming smooth voice and synchronously performed various asanas.
Following the workshop, a group of yoga masters from India demonstrated their ability to maintain a high level of control of their body and spirit by performing various complicated asanas and yoga techniques.
Indicatively, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi very much valued the initiative of the SCO Secretary-General and wrote the following Twitter message on the sidelines of the Qingdao summit on 9 June 2018:
"I was delighted to know about Mr. Rashid Alimov's keen interest in Yoga, and I thank him for the gesture of marking #4thYogaDay at the SCO HQ on 16 June. World over, the enthusiasm towards Yoga is on the rise and this is a positive sign."
During his earlier trip to India, Mr Rashidov visited the Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga in New Delhi, where he took part in a workshop organised for the occasion.
During Yoga Day, the SCO Headquarters hosted a photo exhibit depicting yoga workshops in various capitals and cities: New Delhi, Astana, Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Paris, Milan, Bangkok, Angkor, Cairo, Kunming and Frankfurt.
On 11 December 2011 the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus and with the support of 177 of the 193 UN members, Resolution 69/131 on proclaiming June 21 the International Day of Yoga.