On the eve of the summer solstice in the scorching mid-afternoon, as London is undergoing a heatwave, Rev. Philippa Blackham, Interfaith Minister, and Anila Dhami, ITV presenter, were the MC’s at the Trafalgar Square International Yoga Day event; they opened the proceedings with three chants of Om Shanti. A video message from Narendra Modi was broadcast across the crowd, the PM said yoga united the entire world, yoga was the path to attain a life free of stress, pain and disease, a life full of happiness, he finished by inviting everyone to make yoga a mass movement for peace and prosperity. There followed a message from HM Queen Elizabeth II sending her good wishes to everyone present. The High CommissionerY.K. Sinha thanked the Greater London Authority and the office of the Mayor of London for their support in organising the event. He echoed the PM saying at a time when the world is faced with the grave challenge of terrorism, yoga shows the way to lasting peace and harmony. London’s Deputy Mayor of Culture, Justine Simon, gave a warm welcome to the many practitioners on their mats and Nanda Kumar from Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan chanted some Sanskrit shlokas, then Neil Patel Grand Master from Chi Kri Yoga read the inclusive Chi Kri World Prayer.
Thespiritual standing yoga postures were made powerful with affirmations, chanting of great ancient Vedic verses, culminating in rhythmic, mystical and devotional dances , all choreographed by Arunima.
Akadami, the south Asian dance specialists presented a classical dance performance with bespoke traditional costumes drawn from all over India; the dances were in Kuchipudi style and Bharatanatyam style and were choreographed to include some yoga asanas. Bollywood actor and mindfulness coach Raageshwari Loomba Swarup and award winning Kuchipudi danseuse and choreographer Arunima Kumar ended the celebrations with a powerful piece Bhakti Yoga – Nritya Yoga specially designed for the occasion. Thespiritual standing yoga postures were made powerful with affirmations, chanting of great ancient Vedic verses, culminating in rhythmic, mystical and devotional dances , all choreographed by Arunima. The entire audience in Trafalgar square joined inthe chants and moves.The music was composed by famous Bollywood composers Atul Raninga and Trilok Singh Loomba. Arunima Kumar was recently invited to choreograph and dance at the Queens reception at Buckingham Palace for the launch of India UK year of culture – Arunimasaid “Yoga must be a way of life for everyone, it connects us to our soul+. Shiva is the divine yogi who frees us from material desires”.