European Parliament hosts ‘The Yoga Way’ at curtain raiser event to celebrate UN International Yoga Day.
The much awaited visit of Global Humanitarian and the finest exponent of Yoga from India Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for an event on yoga at the European Parliament, Brussels brought an air of freshness and new energy to the world’s largest legislating body. The event titled “The Yoga Way” was held in Paul Henri Spaak Building of the European Parliament in Brussels on 21 April.
Addressing the eclectic set of members present, Gurudev said, “From GDP, we are moving to Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH). Yoga can be a useful tool that can aid that. A large percentage of our population today is suffering from depression. Just popping anti-depressants will not help. We need something that is as natural as our breath that we can use and elevate our spirit and feel that much needed happiness.” Throwing light on the power of yoga, Sri Sri added, “ Prejudice based on religion, race, class, gender, education, financial status have clogged the mind of men and that's how conflicts arise in society.Yoga helps us to reach out and resolve this conflict.”
Lauding Sri Sri’s numerous humanitarian initiatives spanning the globe, Jo Leinen, Member EU , Germany , said, “If I would have to decide, you would be a candidate for Nobel peace prize - this would be something you deserve. You are the one who wants to solve conflicts and bring harmony.”
The insightful discourse on yoga, the interactive question and answer session with Sri Sri and the relaxing meditation enthralled the audience composed of Members of European Parliament, DGs, European Commissioners, Ambassadors from various countries and several others. The event created a lot of buzz in the corridors of the legislating institution of the European Union.
As a curtain raiser event to celebrate International Day of Yoga 2015, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was invited to speak on yoga and lead a meditation session in the European Parliament by the Delegation for Relations with India and supported by 11 MEPs. It was for the first time in the history of the European Parliament that any event had found resonance amongst members from all the seven political groups in the Parliament.
Gurudev was received in the European Parliament by Ambassador of India to EU, Belgium and Luxembourg, Manjeev Singh Puri and 5 MEPs Geoffrey Van Orden, Nirj Deva, Neena Gill, Jo Leinen and Alojz Peterle who were the key players for organising the event. “Sri Sri’s message is not rooted in any one religion but is relevant to those of no religion and to all religions.” said Mr Van Orden while addressing the Parliamentarians. This was followed by a brief welcome speech by Ambassador Puri and playing of a video of Indian PM Modi’s exhortation at UNGA for declaration of International Day of Yoga by UN.
A short film on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was also played during the event. “Today, Yoga has become a public good for the world and it is one of the many Indian contributions to the world towards a holistic approach to health, well being and peace. Something that has emanated from our culture is now reverberating all over the world and finds a place in the largest legislature - the EU.”said Ambassador Puri.
Over the years, The Art of Living has been actively engaged in promoting good health and has taken the ancient knowledge of yoga across the globe. The organisation has successfully been conducting ‘Yogathons’ which has attracted audiences world-wide.
This unique event aimed at promoting the multiple health benefits of Yoga has garnered huge response from people from all walks of life and was attended by 1.29 million in 2012 followed by 1.8 million in 2014, in locations ranging from schools, colleges, parks, stadiums, prisons, and rehabilitation centers to malls, orphanages and clubs.
Link to Gurudev's address to the European parliament on "The Yoga Way" below