Although the International Day for Yoga celebrations were muted this year due to Covid protocols, the importance of yoga has grown multifold in the conscience of the public for its role in the promotion of “holistic health”, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday. The Chandni Chowk MP, who joined the people of his Lok Sabha constituency to observe the 7th International Day for Yoga at the Maharaja Agrasen Park, Kashmere Gate, explained why yoga has always had a special place in his heart.
“The pandemic has shown that health is the ultimate wealth. The cultivation of health and character should be encouraged in parallel among all individuals. Throughout my tenure as health minister, when I was mostly pre-occupied in combatting COVID-19, I sought refuge in pranayama to relieve the stress from work and undertook an hour of walking after office. “The ability to do the breathing of pranayama with ease also provided a mental assurance to me that I was not infected with COVID-19,” Vardhan was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the health ministry.
With a thinly-populated crowd maintaining social distancing while doing yoga, the exercise was symbolic in nature to reinforce the message of “Yoga for Wellness”, the statement said. The message of the 7th International Day for Yoga is aligned to the ongoing Covid pandemic in the country, it said, adding that yoga has played a significant role in checking anxiety and depression during the pandemic, when people isolated themselves in their homes to prevent the transmission of the pathogen.
Vardhan expressed his deepest condolences to everyone present on the occasion who might have lost their near and dear ones to COVID-19. “Apart from yoga and meditation, people should also strictly adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour, the social vaccine present with us from last year, and also make efforts to get themselves and every eligible family member vaccinated,” he said and asked everyone to protect their health, wear masks properly, wash their hands regularly with soap and avoid crowded places.
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the universalisation of the Covid vaccination drive, Vardhan reiterated his appeal to everyone to get themselves and all their eligible family members inoculated against the viral disease. The health minister observed that with the increased availability of vaccines each consecutive month due to the ramping up of the production capacity and with many new vaccines awaiting approval in the near future, the increased pace of vaccination would help to rapidly immunise the country against COVID-19.
He also cautioned everyone against misinformation regarding the approved Covid vaccines, according to the statement.