By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto–Toronto set a record of holding the biggest-ever yoga event in North America as yoga guru Baba Ramdev led thousands of people through yoga asanas at the International Centre here on Sunday.
The day-long mega event was organised by the non-profit International Day of Yoga Canada (IYDC) in collaboration with the Indian consulate here.
Top leaders, including Canada’s Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, Ontario state’s Indo-Canadian Minister Dipika Damerla, Ontario Opposition Leader Patrick Brown, mayors, and members of Parliament joined the event as Baba Ramdev put them through over two hours of yogic asanas in the morning session.
Brahma Kumari Sister Shivani led the evening meditation session.
It was all fun and laughter as Ramdev guided people, including the VIPs, through tough yogic exercises, highlighting the benefits of each asana.
Administering an oath to the crowd to do yoga everyday, he said: “People look for solutions outside, but everything is inside us. My mission is to take yoga to every corner of the world.”
“Even if one percent people of the world practise yoga, it will usher in prosperity and world peace and there won’t be any wars. Yoga has nothing to do with any religion.”
Referring to his Patanjali Ayurved business empire as a charity and non-profit organisation “for the benefit of mankind”, Ramdev said his mission is to build the world’s biggest university which teaches modern education and India’s ancient wisdom and knowledge.
Amid applause, the yoga guru said he had never attended any bigger yoga event than this one anywhere outside India.
Terming the yoga celebrations an “exciting and important event”, Duncan greeted the huge gathering in Punjabi, saying: “Namaskar, Sat Sri Akal, Assalam Aleikum. Mera naam Kirsty Duncan hai. Mainu bahut khushi hai….”
Indian Consul General Dinesh Bhatia, who put together the event in collaboration with community organisations, said yoga is India’s gift to the world and lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting it recognised as International Day of Yoga. He introduced Ramdev to Canadians as “the brand ambassador of yoga and Ayurveda” and a crusader against corruption and black money.
Welcoming people to the yoga celebrations in Canada, IYDC Chairman Satish Thakkar highlighted the economic benefits of yoga in terms of medical costs for modern society. He said the mission of IYDC is to take yoga to the mainstream in Canada by organising even bigger yoga events in the future.