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Basotho urged to embrace Yoga

Mohalenyane Phakela

BASOTHO have been urged to embrace Yoga therapy to enhance their physical and mental well-being.

According to Maseru-based Yoga guru, Raj Pullanikkatil, the practice harmonises the body with the mind, reduces mental stress and physical tension, thus boosting memory and developing an organised thought pattern.

Pullanikkatil made the remark on Thursday at a press conference held at the office of the High Consul of India to Lesotho in Maseru. During the press briefing, he announced that Lesotho would join the rest of the world next Sunday in commemorating International Day of Yoga at AVANI Maseru Hotel.

“Yoga is an ancient Indian art and science which focuses on bringing harmony between one’s body, mind and soul,” Pullanikkatil said.

“It has over 100 postures that people can learn within a six-month period if practiced for at least an hour a day. Even though the postures may appear simple to perform, they should be done under the supervision of a guru as some may affect blood flow and, therefore, have negative effects on people with certain diseases.

He added: “This does not mean that certain people cannot practice Yoga, but a guru should guide them on which postures are not harmful to them.”

Pullanikkatil said the commemorations were meant to promote the 6 000+-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice which originated from India. June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly last December, at the instigation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the UN General Assembly in 2014.

Pullanikkatil also said he had been practicing the discipline for more than three decades, and holding free Yoga classes in Maseru over the years. During last year’s commemorations, he taught local enthusiasts 25 postures.

“At last year’s International Day of Yoga, I demonstrated about 25 postures which accommodated both beginners and those already practising,” said the guru.

“I intend to introduce another set of 25 from the 100 we have. I may repeat some which are easy to do as we may have a different group from last year which consisted of beginners.”

Among Yoga’s other benefits, Pullanikkatil said, was helping control impulse reactions, and preventing such ailments as obesity and diabetes.

In his remarks to the media, Honorary Consul of India to Lesotho, Man Mohan Bakaya, said the commemorations were meant to promote a healthy lifestyle among Basotho.

“Yoga is an inexpensive exercise that the Indian community introduced to the rest of the world at the UN summit in 2014. It is our means of promoting healthy living,” he said.

“The Indian diaspora in Lesotho was greatly pleased with the large number of people who showed up for the pilot event last year. We wish to see more people this time as the event is free.”

The honorary consul also urged attendees to bring a mat, comfortable loose clothing and training shoes to the event to be able to execute the Asanas posture which entails sitting for a long time. He also revealed that Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Likeleli Tampane was expected to attend and participate in the session.


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