For the first time, a yoga session was organised in the Australian Parliament Monday with several lawmakers including former prime minister Tony Abbott performing various asanas in the federal legislature. Marking the fourth International Day of Yoga which is on June 21, over 50 people attended the two-hour long event organised by Melbourne-based Vasudeva Kriya Yoga group at Parliament’s community hall in Canberra.
“It’s great that we are acknowledging that (Yoga day) here in Australian parliament today,” Abbott said. “It’s wonderful to see that so many Australians of Indian background are practising yoga and it’s also great to see that so many Australians generally are interested in Yoga,” the former premier said.
Practicising yoga could help politicians living a stressful and busy social lives, the 60-year-old leader said. “India is the world’s emerging democratic superpower and yoga is something associated with India. It’s good to see this splendid Indian export is more and more taken up throughout the world,” Abbott said.
According to Rajendra Yenkannamoole, founder of Vasudeva Kriya Yoga, it was the first time that International Yoga day was celebrated in any Parliament in the world.
“It was a very successful and historic event. We are planning to make it even bigger in coming years in Australia,” he said, adding that Victorian Parliament was also gearing up to hold a similar event in its Queen Hall on June 21 with state parliamentarians and community members.
Others who attended the event were multi-cultural minister Alan Tudge, Senator James Paterson, parliamentarians Julian Hill and Tim Wilson and Indian High Commissioner to Australia A M Gondane among others.
“It’s an important recognition to Yoga given by the Australian government,” according to Tushar Balapure, coordinator of the event. “For any government, community health is a top priority and yoga should become a part of promoting health and well-being across the globe,” he added.