International yoga day in Kingsbury remembers victims of recent violence

Residents enjoying the International Yoga Day at the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury

Residents enjoying the International Yoga Day at the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people gathered at an international yoga day in Kingsbury using the event to honour victims of recent hate crimes.

Some 250 ‘yogis’ gathered at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury to celebrate the second annual International Yoga Day.

With yoga being so synonymous with mental and emotional peace and wellbeing, the event was used to honour the innocent victims of the mass shootings in Orlando and the recent murder of MP, Jo Cox in her constituency in Batley and Spen, Yorkshire.

A two-minute silence was held at the end of the session to reflect on these horrific events and pray of peace and tolerance.

People of all abilities, young and old were instructed through a routine of Peksha, or “self-perception” Meditation and yoga, learning about the many physical and mental benefits of this ancient practice.

Amit Vekaria, a regular yoga practitioner and osteopath, said: “Yoga promotes overall fitness, both of the mind and body. It benefits the immune systems and regulates the functions of all the body’s organs. It’s great to see so many people of all ages abilities here today, and hopefully some of them will be inspired to take up Yoga on a regular basis.”

Mukund Patel, who was trying yoga for the first time said: “I never thought that yoga would be so exercising – I was out of breath just halfway in! I’m really feeling the benefits of today’s session and really enjoyed the backdrop of this beautiful temple. It’s really sold me on Yoga.”

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Acharya Shree Maharaj, the global leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sanstha under which the Mandir operates. is renowned internationally for his message of universal peace, brotherhood and tolerance.

He is also the inspiring force behind the creation of the new monument in Kingsbury Road, opened in 2014 and believed to be the world’s first eco-temple for its green technologies.

The Maharaj encourages his followers to better themselves and society, and the Mandir therefore hosts a wide range of sporting, performing arts, educational and charitable activities.

Trustee Mahesh Varsani led the prayers and tributes as the session drew to a close, and cited Jo Cox’s own words: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

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