BEIJING, 21 June. TASS correspondent Andrei Kirillov — Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Vladimir Norov has expressed a wish that the cultural heritage of the SCO member states, including yoga should be preserved. He was speaking during an interview with TASS news agency on the occasion of International Day of Yoga established by the UN General Assembly and marked on 21 June.
"The SCO countries are tied together with each other with historical, cultural and civilisational strings. They are constantly exchanging ideas and cultural influences that form the important basis of our relations. The SCO values its rich, diverse, proud and unique cultural heritage, yoga being one of these things," Vladimir Norov said. "For millennia, it has improved human nature, providing it with stability, balance and thorough optimism."
Facilitating dialogue and harmony
One of the SCO's key activity fields in culture, Mr Norov said, is working with young people and the development of sports. In the Qingdao Declaration, the SCO heads of state emphasised the importance of sports as an efficient tool for dialogue between peoples. They also noted that the annual International Day of Yoga facilitates the further strengthening of friendship, peace, mutual understanding and harmony.
"Yoga is an ancient Indian practice. It is more than just physical training; it also includes meditation and spiritual practices. It is a way to feel at-oneness with yourself, the universe and nature," the SCO Secretary-General said.
Wisdom and love
It is said, Mr Norov dwelled on, that yoga is about discipline and devotion, and can be followed the entire lifetime of a person. Yoga does not depend on age, skin colour or faith: it belongs to everyone. "Yoga's ability to improve physical health and its other advantages are valued all over the world. According to yoga teachings, perfect wisdom and spiritual love are dormant inside all of us. Yoga helps us reveal and use this potential," he added.
Protection from unhealthy practices
Mr Norov believes that marking the International Day of Yoga improves global coordination and solidarity between people. Celebrating this day can help increase awareness about physical and mental problems, their regulation and treatment using yoga, which "can protect us from unhealthy practices and promote and respect the healthy ones to make our lives better."
"Yoga is becoming a widespread practice in most SCO member states that adopt it with their own variations and styles. It is especially popular among young people. They want to live a healthy, stress-free, disciplined life, which will help them to reach personal fulfilment," the SCO Secretary-General concluded.
Yoga Day was first marked at the SCO Secretariat on 16 June 2018 prior to International Yoga Day, marked on 21 June.
With the support of the SCO Secretariat, Yoga Day was also organised on 8-12 November 2018 in Dongfang (China) and on 8 June 2019 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan).