By Kadeem Joseph
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, EP Chet Greene is encouraging Antiguans and Barbudans to consider practising yoga for the health benefits that can be derived from this form of exercise.
Speaking on Saturday during a ceremony to commemorate International Day of Yoga, which is celebrated on June 21 every year, the minister encouraged residents to “embrace yoga for what it offers … the harmonisation of body, soul and mind”.
“In this pandemic period when there are all types of psychological and other challenges, you can understand the value of yoga in calming the person,” he added.
The popularity of yoga — the much-touted subtle science that originated in India — has mushroomed globally and, today, Antigua and Barbuda joins over 200 countries across the world in observing the International Day of Yoga.
The day is being commemorated in the twin island state for the seventh year in a row and for those who know both the mental and physical benefits of yoga, believe that residents could also benefit from the practice people all over the world continue to reel from the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Greene also called on the Minister of Education and Sports to explore the option of introducing yoga into the nation’s schools.
“As we see what’s happening in our school plants with our children, as we understand the challenges they face with the pandemic, I think yoga and what it offers, that solace to body, soul and mind, is a timely intervention into our schools’ curriculum,” he said.
He also implored India’s Honorary Consul to Antigua and Barbuda, Vijay Tewani, and the Indian High Commission in Guyana, to engage with Antigua and Barbuda to ensure that there is adequate funding and support to begin such a programme in learning institutions.
In recent months, several viral videos have shown groups of uniformed students engaged in street fights, and these images have caused many people to express to express their concerns about the future of the nation’s youth given the apparent lack of conflict resolution skills.
Speaking during the same ceremony, Honorary Consul Tewani highlighted the toll that the pressures of the pandemic is having on the mental health of many noting “never before in our lifetime have we seen or experiences such circumstances”.
He added that rethinking and prioritising aspects of one’s physical and mental health have become crucial aspects of life today.
Meanwhile, Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who also spoke during the event, said that the practice of yoga stimulates the mind and body in a way that very few disciplines do.
“It stimulates the soul through its meditation in a way that I believe many persons would find intriguing,” he said as he thanked India for giving yoga to the world.