Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (09:40): Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the online International Yoga Day celebrations organised by Sakhi Saheli in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, ICCR, the High Commission of India in Singapore, Pragya and Active Mommies. Participants joined virtually from Australia, India and Singapore. International Yoga Day, which falls on 21 June every year, is about raising awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practising yoga. Recognising its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014 the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India.
I helped Rajendra Yenkannamoole from Vasudeva Kriya Yoga school, Melbourne, in organising a yoga session in Victorian Parliament in 2019, but we could not do it here last year and this year due to the pandemic. This year International Yoga Day 2021 carries the theme ‘Yoga for wellbeing’ at a time when society is still recovering from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This highlights the urgent need to address the mental health damage of the pandemic in addition to the physical health aspects.
The message of yoga in promoting both the physical and mental wellbeing of humanity has never been more relevant. The Sakhi Saheli members, being collaborative in their approach, are encouraging young mothers to the active through programs of their partnering organisation Active Mommies. It was fantastic to join Sujata Cowlagi from Pragya, who guided us virtually in doing a session of deep relaxation technique. I want to thank Nidhi Yogi, Sujata Cowlagi, Isha Bali and Neeti Malviya for their hard work and leadership. This exceptional health initiative is essential in getting through the COVID-19 pandemic together with the community.