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Namaste: Hundreds gather in Kyiv to celebrate International Yoga Day (PHOTOS)

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Participants of the International Yoga Day warm up before a collective yoga session in the Kyiv's downtown on June 18.
Photo by Oleg Petrasiuk

Hundreds of Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv to mark the annual International Yoga Day celebrated this year on June 18 around the globe.

In Ukraine, the event was coordinated by the Indian Embassy and Ukrainian Federation of Yoga, and it was called “Marathon with no rush.”

Indian Ambassador to Ukraine Manoj Kumar Bharti spearheaded the Sunday morning yoga session that took place on Khreshchatyk Street – the Kyiv’s downtown.

“Namaste,” said Bharti with warm greetings to all who had gathered on the occasion.

He showed how to do the basic yoga exercises; and hundreds of people, including those who came to Kyiv from other Ukrainian cities, followed his lead, flexing their bodies in various postures.

“Yoga is one of few techniques that give a possibility to combine mind and body,” said Bharti. “I hope, such a (collective yoga class) will help us find peace in the world.”

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice that includes breath control and simple meditation, originated from India.

In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, but this year the celebration is divided into two parts for two days – June 18 and June 21 (as the latter date is a workday and fewer people would be able to attend). Ukrainians can join the second part of the celebration on June 21 in Kyiv’s Mariinsky Park.

In 2015, about 36,000 people gathered in New Delhi, India, to practice yoga together and established the worldwide record.

“The ancient tradition of yoga (in fact) is young and full of energy,” a yoga teacher from Ukrainian Yoga Federation, Anna Krupelnytska, told the Kyiv Post. She says that nowadays yoga is even being taught in some universities. For her, as a follower of this practice, it is “gratifying to have the value of yoga recognized at the international level.”

Around 300 Indian students and teachers will perform yogic exercises at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on June 21.

To see more pictures from the events all over the world, search hashtag #InternationalYogaDay on social media.

Kyiv Post staff writer Denys Krasnikov can be reached at krasnikov@kyivpost.com.

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