Record turnout for yoga in Paris

Paris, June 22 (IANS) While India may have cornered the Guinness Record for the largest simultaneous yoga demonstration, the gatherings in Paris to mark the first International Day of Yoga on Sunday set a French record of sorts of the most number of participants in public yoga demonstrations at the same time.

The flagship event happened at the the Parc de la Villette in northeastern Paris, which was organised by the Embassy of India, in collaboration with numerous yoga associations from all over France. And here, with over 3000 participants, the number was no mean achievement for the organisers as it was close to 10 percent the figure achieved in India, where of course the entire might of the official machinery had been put to work, while in Paris the participation was entirely voluntary.

“It definitely is a big success. For you to manage to get so many French people out in the morning and that too on a Sunday morning before 10 am, is a very creditable achievement,” remarked Marc Seviran, a Parisian resident and an Indophile, while congratulating the Indian ambassador, Dr Mohan Kumar, and his team of embassy officials for the successful event.

Dr Kumar, too, in his speech at the event, said that he was overwhelmed and humbled by the enthusiasm displayed by the predominantly French turnout for the Yoga Day and he hoped that events like these would go a long way in promoting a better image and better awareness of India and its very rich cultural heritage, which is increasingly becoming meaningful and a source of inspiration to the entire world today.

The event had gathered nearly 100 yoga teachers to ensure that most of the participants had a guide near-by to teach them the basic asanas that were on the offer today. One teacher, Debiprasad Pramanik, had come specially from New Delhi, after having conducted workshops in Toulouse for the last three weeks.
“I can see a growing enthusiasm for Yoga amongst the ordinary French citizens and it is no longer an elitist thing. It has become a household name and being practised by many at their homes,” Pramanik told IANS after the event.

Earlier, before the event began at Villette, over 100 yoga enthusiasts, mainly from the Art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravishankar, had conducted various asanas on board a boat at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Soon afterwards, nearly 1500 participants gathered at Eiffel Tower base to perform Yoga, in an event jointly organised by the Embassy of India and a garments firm.

At Passage Brady in the Indian area of Paris, a Muslim yoga instructor led the demonstration organised by Gopio International and attended by over 100 enthusiasts, mainly of Indian origin.

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