The Permanent Delegation of India to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced that beginning March 23rd, it will be offering free yoga classes to UNESCO employees in Paris every week.
The classes will be offered to all UNESCO ambassadors, delegation members, and Secretariat staff. The Permanent Delegation of India reports that well-known yoga master Sricharan Faeq Biria, director of the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Paris, will conduct the classes every Monday at UNESCO’s Circle of Delegates.
Biria has practiced yoga for over 60 years, says the delegation, and has spent a significant amount of time studying with guru B.K.S. Iyengar. Some consider him to be Iyengar’s closest disciple.
An Intersection of Intentions
Delighted to bring India’s cultural heritage to the multicultural setting of UNESCO, the delegation aims to “foster an awareness of ourselves and create a union between body, mind and spirit” while “creating balance and equanimity so as to live in peace, good health, and harmony with the greater whole.”
By promoting yoga in Paris, it’s hoped that India’s ancient cultural traditions will reach a wider audience.
And by conducting these classes at UNESCO, India has found a perfect way to align its own goals of sharing yoga with UNESCO’s goals of promoting international cooperation and preserving both historical sites and traditional practices.
An international organization with 195 member countries and nine associate members, UNESCO’s goal is to preserve cultural heritage, build peace between nations, pursue scientific cooperation, and more.
The organization, known as the “intellectual agency” of the United Nations, is devoted to creating holistic policies that address sustainable development.
Practicing for Progress
“At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons, and sustain the hope of a new humanism,” says UNESCO’s website.
“For Indians, yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfillment, harmony between man and nature, a holistic approach to health and well-being. Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition,” says the Permanent Delegation of India.
Sounds like these two philosophies work pretty well together. What do you think? Will promoting yoga at an international organization like UNESCO help it reach a wider audience?