16th July 2021 22:18:47 Hours


The Sri Lanka Army, adding renewed recognition to age-old ties of goodwill and friendship rolled out the inauguration of the 7th edition of the ‘International Yoga Day’ (21 June) in collaboration with the High Commission of India at the Sri Jayawardenepura Army Headquarters this morning (21) after transmission of messages of HE the President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Hon Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi during Sri Lanka’s official inauguration of the International Yoga Day, a gesture that reflected the high-profile regard the High Commission of India has attached to the Yoga followers in Sri Lankan armed forces.

General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) this morning (21) joined the day's arrangement. A brief religious ceremony through video technology blessed the inauguration at the outset of the training demonstration session.

The welcome address was delivered using zoom technology by HE Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka and the keynote speech was made by General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Secretary to State Ministry of National Security and Disaster Management through video conferencing. After introductory welcome notes, the floor was laid open to zoom messages of HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Hon Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi readout separately.

Next, the stage with instructors and Army personnel was set to experience a demonstration of this ancient mind-body healing practice, through which the Sri Lanka Army over the past few years has been benefited as regular Yoga exercises have been used to enhance the mental and physical robustness of soldiers and their mental stability.

The formal country commemoration of the International Yoga Day inside the Army HQ premises with the concurrence of the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Ministry of Defence was made possible due to sound relations that prevail between both Nations and commitment of the Army for promotion of this ancient physical art in Sri Lanka.

The proceedings were also simultaneously telecast and attracted the troops joining the session at Panagoda Army Cantonment, other Army Establishments and a few selected senior officers in establishments via video technology. Live pictures of Sri Lanka’s inaugural ceremony that went on for about 75 minutes at the Army HQ were simultaneously beamed around the world through patronage of the High Commission of India.

Dr Rewant Vikram Singh, Director, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre and renowned Yoga Instructors attended the day’s programme.

Few senior Army Officers including Major General Wasantha Madola, Deputy Chief of staff, Major General Priyanka Fernando, Director General General Staff, Major General Sanjaya Wanasinghe, Adjutant General graced the occasion. The whole programme followed strict health guidelines.

The notion of declaring an International Yoga Day was first proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on September 27, 2014 during his speech at the UN General Assembly, where a resolution to establish June 21 as the International Yoga Day was adopted after HE the UN Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji introduced the commemoration beginning the year 2015.

Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition which embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being of mankind. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.