Bridging the gap between Yogic Sciences and Diverse Communities
he yogic sciences have always been known in the Indian subcontinent for their undeniable benefits in terms of both physical and mental well-being. With the growing global popularity of the yogic sciences, the United Nations declared June 21 as the ‘International Yoga Day’. An international yoga conference has been organised to help in the efforts to take yoga to the masses in an effective manner. Popular sports such as cricket and football and games of virtual reality have gradually eclipsed the traditional sports and games which are less expensive. These less expensive disciplines are much effective in terms of physical development. Promoting and re- introducing traditional sports and games to our younger generations is vital to reap the benefits of our heritage and to be connected with our past.
The International conference on ‘Yoga for Global Well-being’ is to be held by the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, a UNESCO accredited NGO, recognized for its culture preserving activities and promoting of intangible cultural heritage. The NGO is holding this conference in collaboration with the National Institute of Sports Sciences (NISS), the latter being associated with the Sports Ministry of Sri Lanka and Dhamya Sports and Yoga Academy, Nugegoda. The conference will be held at the National Institute of Sports Sciences in Colombo from February 9-12.
Professor Ravi Sahu of the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal (HVPM), India, remarked that “Yoga or Yogasana is an exercise and meditative form for global well-being and is not just limited to Indians or for Hindus.”
Prof. Sahu said, “There exist viewpoints that stereotype yoga as a religious activity. To break such misconceptions, the theme of this year’s yoga conference has been decided to be ‘Bridging the gap between Yogic Sciences and Diverse Communities’. The conference provides an opportunity for deliberations and the outcomes would be beneficial in improving the understanding of Yoga among the general public; comprising individuals from different religions and ethnicities.
"Yoga and Naturopathy certification courses have been added to the curriculum
The Sports Minister Harin Fernando is expected to grace the opening ceremony along with the secretaries of the Health and Sports Ministries of Sri Lanka"
Prof. Sahu shared the intriguing historical background and significance of the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal (HVPM). The organisation was founded in 1914 in a place called Amravati in the province of Maharashtra, India; which at the time was British India. This organisation was formed with the objective of promoting traditional games and sports among the youth of India. These efforts were made in order to produce able bodied young individuals capable of participating in India’s struggle for freedom from the British. The building of the organisation was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi himself, who had also visited the organisation twice during his lifetime. The first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose and Indira Gandhi are among the many dignitaries who had visited, recognised and commended the organisation for its non communal efforts towards strengthening
In the journey of promoting and safeguarding Indian culture and values through physical activities such as traditional sports and games, the HVPM communicated with the organising committee of the Olympic Games. As a result, a contingent of 20 individuals were invited to Germany to participate in the Olympic Games held in Germany, in 1936. The athletes had performed and showcased Indian traditional sports in the international arena and were awarded with a medal by an impressed Adolf Hitler.
The highest civilian award, presented by the Goverment of India, ‘Padmashree’, was awarded to the head of the institution, Prof. P. A. Vaidya, for the contributions and efforts of the HVPM in safeguarding and promoting traditional Indian sports for over a century.
The Traditional Sports and Games (TSG) Centers are widespread around the globe. These centres are present in 400 Indian cities and in more than 50 countries. Such a centre was introduced to Sri Lanka in 2013. The Sports Ministry of Sri Lanka and the National Institute of Sports Sciences (NISS), have been actively involved in projects in collaboration with the
HVPM ever since.
Prof. Sahu noted that Shantha Weerasinghe, the previous director of the NISS and Sajith Jayalal, the current director, have contributed tremendously to this collaboration. Yoga and Naturopathy certification courses have been added to the curriculum. Opportunities are available for Sri Lankans to enroll. The doors are also open at the institute for Ministry of Sports officials and those following Diploma in Sports Management courses and officials of Ministry of Sports. More such courses are in the pipeline and will benefit Sri Lankan students.
Apart from working with the government, the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal is also working in collaboration with the private sector for the promotion of yoga across Sri Lanka. Dhamya Sports and Yoga academy, Nugegoda, not only focuses on teaching yoga, but also conducts three-month training programmes for those who wish to become yoga teachers. Ashtanka Yoga Mandir, in Wellawatte, has also been instrumental in finding experienced Yoga teachers in nooks and corners of the country. The Sports Minister Harin Fernando is expected to grace the opening ceremony along with the secretaries of the Health and Sports Ministries of Sri Lanka. The World Health Organization representatives will also be participating in panel discussions and lectures. Sri Lankan citizens will be charged an all inclusive fee of Rs 5000 upon registration. This payment will entitle each participant to obtain a conference kit, souvenirs, certificates and enjoy meals and refreshment during conferences and competitions. Some of the best yoga experts from India are expected to be present. Individuals of all ages and genders are invited experience the occasion.
More information about the upcoming event can be obtained by calling Amila de Silva
(National Institute of Sports Sciences) on 011-2684921, 011-2667709 and Shehani Samaraweera (Dhamya Sports and Yoga Academy, Nugegoda) on 077-4771971
The conference will be held at the National Institute of Sports Sciences in Colombo from February 9-12.