The ancient practice of yoga has shown tremendous benefits to health and wellbeing, ranging from improving flexibility, reducing stress, increasing muscle tone and fostering mental calmness, among others.
Yoga is a discipline that dates back to thousands of years, and it is regarded as one of the best practices to calm the inner self. The practice aims to attain self-realisation by improving the inherent power of an individual in a balanced way.
This discipline was founded by Indian philosophers, who presented a rational interpretation of their experiences and formulated a practical and scientifically sound method to be available within everyone’s reach.
The very first mention of yoga was in the Rig Veda, one of the oldest sacred Indian texts. This spiritual discipline is based on a subtle science that aims to bring about harmony between the body and the mind.
The popularity of yoga in Namibia has been increasing with time. The Indian High Commission celebrates the UN International Day of Yoga on 21 June annually since 2015.
It was in 2014 that 177 countries gathered at the UN General Assembly and adopted 21 June as International Day of Yoga, with Namibia and India being strong partners in this endeavour.
“Since 2016, the Indian High Commission has been conducting regular yoga sessions at the chancery. After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the sessions were held virtually,” said the head and chancery at the Indian Embassy in Namibia Vipul Bawa.
He added that in response to the local demand, beginners’ level yoga sessions are held at the chancery from Monday to Friday during morning and evening slots.
He said yoga enthusiasts are always welcome to join the sessions and learn to make yoga a part of their daily routine.
High Commissioner of India in Namibia Prashant Agrawal said he has made yoga a part of his life, as it calms him, considering his work and daily duties.
“I do yoga for about 15 minutes every day. I have been doing it intermittently for several years but regularly for the past one year. While benefits of doing yoga for keeping fit have been obvious, more importantly, it has helped me achieve a sense of calm, direction and purpose,” shared the enthusiastic Agrawal.
At the time of joining yoga classes, Beatha Tangi Ntinda said she suffered from insomnia and migraines. The first month was the hardest because some yoga asanas (body postures) were challenging for her body.
“With time, the flexibility kicked in. My migraines disappeared and my sleeping pattern changed. An unexpected gain I noticed was that I felt more confident and more beautiful. It boosted my self-esteem. It also lifted my mood and triggered my happy hormone after every yoga session. It filled me with energy,” recalled Ntinda.
The 31-year-old has been doing yoga for about five years with the embassy and has ventured into being an instructor.
She stated: “Yoga makes you want to improve your life for the better, because of that mental awareness that you develop as you unite your mind and body. The main aim of yoga is to overcome all kinds of suffering that will lead to a sense of freedom in every walk of life. Overall, there are countless yoga benefits for every one of us. Age does not matter with yoga.”
Yoga trainer Radhika Behal-Bawa said the response from the public on the yoga project has been good for both the morning and evening sessions conducted at the high commission.
“We are in such extraordinary times that everyone is facing some or other stress. One should start yoga to feel better and happier. It is something that you do for yourself. Yoga sessions vary depending on the class group. Usually, it is for an hour, which includes pranayama (breathing techniques), asanas (body posture) and meditation,” informed Behal-Bawa.
She added that yoga offers fitness and inner strength as well as holistic health on all levels mind, body and spirit.
“Yoga will help you with improved personality traits, better interpersonal relations, good social skills and a positive attitude towards life,” she enlightened.
With Covid-19, love lives, work, school/university, personal issues or other stress-related issues that cannot be solved immediately, stretching, combined with controlled breathing, are needed for composure.