The supine bodies on what was once the member’s dining room at Old Parliament House was a calming beginning to a yoga session organised by the High Commission of India in collaboration with Yoga Australia as a mass yoga practice session and a prelude to the second International Day of Yoga on 21 June. The intention to be outside on the back lawn ruled out after the rain saturated the lush grass and the cold weather sent the devotees indoors.
The day is a world- wide initiative of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he participated with 30,000, yes that many well organised and disciplined participants, in the city of Chandigarh , on India’s Summer solstice. And he showed off his well honed balance and bending no doubt achieved after a lifetime of practice.
In the Member’s Dining Room there were far less participants but all were intent on following instructions, with all ages, all sizes and shapes, a mix of on-trend outfits and comfortable traditional Indian clothes with a cross section of nationalities who’ve found yoga to be their perfect exercise of choice.
It was at times painful to watch. The manipulation of bung bits lost in the memories of a more supple body now reluctant to co-operate is lamented, so I watched. But those participating, including the children, were happy to at least try, including the High Commissioner of India Navdeep Suri who was coping well with his bung knee.
The High Commissioner had delivered a message from his Prime Minister and from ours. Malcolm Turnbull obviously too busy on the campaign trail to join the session, but happily supporting the initiative.
And that was the purpose of this day. To encourage participation in this 5,000 year old discipline.