(Samaj Weekly)- On 21 June 2022, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Indian Traditional Sciences celebrated International Yoga Day with a highly successful international online conference featuring Parliamentarians, doctors, Yoga teachers, Jyotish experts, Ayurvedic experts, consultant surgeons, representatives of universities and medical institutes, and other luminaries from the UK and around the world.
Participants heard how practical technologies and approaches of Yoga, Ayurveda and other modalities have proved highly effective in preventing illness, restoring health, and bringing peace and happiness to the individual and society.
Latest research results were presented, along with proposals for future investigations,
Agreements were reached between delegates to collaborate on breakthrough medical research projects.
Exchange visits by delegates between the UK and Japan and the UK and Austria were agreed to follow-up on important advances in healthcare.
The APPG will be expediting a series of meetings with Parliamentarians in both the UK House of Commons and the House of Lords, in order to consolidate proposals for wellness programmes and preventative health care education in collaboration with the UK health services.
Bob Blackman MP and Virendra Sharma MP jointly table the Early Day Motion (192) ‘Parliament’s Celebrations of the 8th International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2022’ in the Houses of Commons
The speakers and topics:
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall Chair – APPG Indian Traditional Sciences
Mr Sharma thanked Amarjeet Singh Bhamra the Secretariat at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences for his vision and passion, and his constant championing of this and other visionary approaches, especially the Ayurveda Centre for Excellence in the UK (with Prince Charles and PM Narendra Modi). He encouraged everyone to donate to this initiative.
This project is an inspiration led by Amarjeet Bhamra at the All Party Parliamentary Group – Indian Traditional Sciences, through which we are looking to promote and regulate the presence of Ayurveda and Yoga in the academic, applied, and research sectors in the United Kingdom. We may have also talked about this sometime in the past.
Indian Traditional Sciences is the answer to reducing the healthcare gap in the UK. The mainstream medical model of the UK has neither the capacity nor resources to help those who are not sick enough to need a hospital, nor well enough to be functioning members of society. This gap in healthcare leads to increased rates of mental health problems, broken homes and a deserted workforce.
The Ayurveda Centre of Excellence will focus on Ayurveda and Yoga, allowing this unique health perspective to be studied and developed in the UK. Research, training, treatments, policy decisions, warehousing and management will be administered from here. By doing so we will not only support the NHS, but also wider society by improving the health and therefore the lives of the people who find themselves with neither health nor health resources. This is an essential part of improving social care within the UK.
To support this first of its kind Centre, we have put together a crowdfunding campaign which can be accessed atbit.ly/APPGACE . I would like to invite you to make a contribution and support us in our efforts to make this worthy cause a reality.
Sukadev Bretz Germany
Sukadev Bratz has an ashram of 250 permanent residents at his ashram in Germany, the biggest outside India. Mr Bretz recited traditional blessings for the event: May auspiciousness, peace, prosperity be enjoyed. May nobody suffer. May we be led from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality.
Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East Co-Chair – APPG Indian Traditional Sciences
The International Yoga Day motion in 2014 was the first unanimous motion ever passed by UN, said Mr Blackman, adding that if only the UN could apply the same unity to other causes, then the world would be a better place. The UK National Health Service is a national illness service, continued Mr Blackman, whereas Ayurveda is the opposite. The NHS has started to adopt Yoga as a well-being strategy and should now start to adopt Ayurveda. In Kerala, Mr Blackman once attended the inauguration of an Ayurveda wing as part of a modern hospital. He said that this is integration of the best of both approaches is what should happen here in the UK too. Mr Blackman does Yoga exercises every day, and it has benefitted his back problem.
Dr Tony Nader, MD PhD, head of the international Transcendental Meditation organisation founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Dr Nader thanked Amarjeet and the parliamentarians and all the great speakers. The theme of today, he said, is not just promoting a viewpoint or a cultural system, but something that has benefits for the society as a whole. There are many modalities of Indian Traditional Sciences. One of them, consciousness, often gets overlooked, precisely because it is intangible – you cannot see it or touch it. And yet nothing can happen without it. We cannot think, feel or plan, without consciousness. Narrow restricted consciousness means that we think and act within those limitations, leading to poor decisions. Broader consciousness leads to a better life for ourselves and society. It is our consciousness that makes a difference. Transcendental Meditation, a technology to develop consciousness, has benefits validated by hundreds of research studies, for example: reduced anxiety (twice as effective as any other method studied), and reduce cigarette smoking, i.e., health habits improved spontaneously. Several studies demonstrate remarkable cost savings to society. It is known that health expenditure increases among the elderly, as the body ages. In studies where TM was introduced among the over 65s, there was a dramatic and immediate reduction in health expenses for the TM group, compared with the non-TM group whose expenses continued to rise in line with their age. We thus see the practical value of Yoga – in this case a Yoga of the mind –in affecting government budgets. Consciousness is really primary, and raising consciousness improves every aspect of life – not just our budgets but also our individual well-being, and that of society and the world.
Dr Naga Venkatesh Jayanthi, consultant surgeon at Springfield Hospital Chelmsford UK
Dr Jayanth highlighted his research on Yoga with cancer patients in the specialised area in which he works: cancer of the oesophagus, or food pipe. It is a relatively rare cancer, but UK has one of the highest incidences in the world. It requires a complex and very invasive operation, usually requiring 7–8 hours, which he has shortened considerably through advances that he has pioneered, involving key-hole surgery which is far less invasive. This has resulted in significantly less lung and chest complications. He wants to study the effect of Yoga pranayama, introduced before and after surgery. He expects that it will further reduce lung complications and improve general well-being and reduce stress. He needs funding for this.
Prof Sanjay Kinra, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine London UK
Prof Kinra has done a trial on Yoga for cardiac rehabilitation, resulting in substantial improvement in the quality of life, and a small improvement in survival rates. Now he is leading a trial study of the effect of Ashwagandha on long Covid, with 2000 NHS participants. He is having to go through all the regulatory process normally applied to pharmaceutical products, i.e., ashwagandha is being assessed as a medicine not just a herbal product. The study will require the approval of regulatory bodies, which means that it will have a major impact.
Professor Tanuja Manoj Nesari, All-India Institute of Ayurveda New Delhi India
Professor Nesari’s institute is a partner with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (see previous speaker), and she reiterated that Ashwagandha is being hopefully registered as a medicine, with immunomodulatory and anti-oxidant effects, for the management of long Covid. In India the Covid Health Centre has treated 600 patients with care and compassion. There was zero mortality, and recovery time was reduced by half.
Dr Mukesh Batra Mumbai India
Dr Batra is a pioneer of modern homeopathy, who received the national Padmashri Award, and has 200 clinics in 150 cities in 7 countries. Yoga dates back to 1500 BC, said Dr Batra, and is mentioned in Rig Veda. Yoga comes from the word Yug, unifying. Homeopathy is in accord with it, and is very popular in India, with 50 million users.98,000 Indians died last year from ADRs (adverse drug reactions). Both homeopathy and Yoga have been found useful in a study in USA of women with ovarian problems.
Sanjay Rath Astrologer New Delhi India
Sanjay Rath described how the herb triphala helps in making balanced decisions, and thereby helps society as a whole. He then outlined the role of Jyotish for social well-being, relationships at home and at work and in the wider society, and therefore, for all aspects of life. He also mentioned that Transcendental Meditation, as described earlier by Dr Tony Nader, is one of the most ancient techniques, and he has practised it since the 1990s. When in 2017 he had a heart attack, it was TM that saved him and allowed him to recover well.
Rt. Hon. The Baroness Verma, Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Overseas Development, and present Chancellor of Roehampton University
Many countries during Covid could not afford vaccines and started looking into their own traditions. Baroness Verma had just come from a meeting about diabetes, where she was advocating Yoga for younger children. We need to reach out beyond the people and organisations connected today, to the practitioners of modern medicine and the pharmaceutical companies, she said, we need to work together with all stakeholders.
Professor Geetha Krishnan Gopal Krishnan Pillai, World Health Organisation Geneva Switzerland
Expressed great support of all the programmes presented on the International Yoga Day, and is ready to help with the medical research studies described: on Ashwagandha for Long Covid, and on yoga for oesophageal cancer. The UN and UNICEF used yoga during Covid as a tool for mental health where mild to moderate exercise was desired. And more than 100,000 people engaged with the Yoga programme. He has also led the development of the WHO m-Yoga mobile App
Sri Siddeshwer Brahmrishi Gurudev Chicago USA
The essence of yoga is balance – not only between mind and body, but also in one’s relationship with others and with fellow creatures. This transforms human nature towards non-violence, fruitfulness, pure love, aparigraha, a heart filled with cosmic love.
Daaji Heartfulness Institute India represented by Joshua Pollock
There are different planes and levels of existence, and for each layer, some practice has been developed to help it. Therefore, we need to have a collaborative attitude. The message of homeopathy is that the subtlest level is the most powerful. Yoga must be the same. ‘Soft power’. The Heartfulness Institute has 14,000 volunteers.
He said, “My religion is humanity, and my practice is ahimsa (non-violence)”. The Mohanji Foundation, with its headquarters in Switzerland, is present across 6 continents, registered in 17 countries and has an active presence in over 90 countries, representing many organisations including the World Consciousness Alliance. Yoga unites hearts, he said. And a healthy society is a great society. Between unity and separation, we live our life. We need to live in awareness. Yoga is the integration of consciousness and mind and body, connection to our self.
Dr Padma Coram London UK
Yoga is not just physical – we know of Ashtanga, eight limbs. Roses and dogs have many varieties and we tailor our therapy to fit each one. But for humans, the NHS treats everyone as the same, with pharmaceutical medicine, and tries to fit everyone to the medicine, instead of fitting the medicine to each person. NHS needs to use the Ayurvedic model – prevention rather than cure.
Shizuo Suzuki Japan
Shizuo teaches Ayurveda and Yoga and Transcendental Medicine and this morning he celebrated International Yoga Day, with the Indian ambassador Sanjay Kumar Verma and with Mr Yuji Kuroiwa, the Governor of Kanagawa state, with 9.2 million people. There have been messages of congratulation: 1) from the APPG in the UK; 2) from Hakubun Shimomura, the president of the Liberal Democratic Party parliamentary league for the promotion of Yoga, with 60 members; 3) from Minoru Kiuchi, member of parliament and former minister, on behalf of the Japan–India group.
Swami Purnachaitanya The Netherlands
The beauty of Yoga lies in the prevention aspect, of mental as well as of physical diseases. 90% of human suffering is mental or emotional, including loneliness. Yoga is effective in this. Yoga is time tested, proven, without side effects.
Dr Wolfgang Schachinger Soma Centre Austria
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has explained that dhyana, dharana and samadhi are equally important as the other aspects of yoga, said Dr Schachinger. Ayurveda and Yoga are very closely allied, he said. Toxins in the environment and in our food are a great barrier to the development of consciousness through yoga. Panchakarma is invaluable in removing these toxins, and now we are making the purification programme available at home via the internet. Yoga and Transcendental Meditation are now being used to help bring peace to the Ukraine conflict, with groups being formed in and around the conflict region.
His Holiness Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda Yoga in Daily Life Czech Republic
My mission is to help people understand themselves, understand others, to love and protect all living beings, and ultimately to realize God and author of one of the most famous and acknowledged systems of yoga throughout the world, the Yoga in Daily Life, whose main goal is to help humanity attain physical, mental, social and spiritual health.
Joachim Jose da Costa Jorge Portuguese Association of Ayurvedic Medicine
Technology has created an abyss between man and health, said Mr da Costa Jorge. Children used to play in the streets, but now they are taking medicines to relive their anxiety and depression. High blood pressure is now considered normal, and the medicines to treat it create side effects. To change the world, we must start with the education of children, and ideally this should be done in a rural setting.
Celio Mondjane David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness Based Education and World Peace New York USA
Mr Mondjane had worked with President Chissano of Mozambique in the 1990s and 2000s to create peace in that country through the group practice of Transcendental Meditation – Yoga for the mind – and through the educational foundation the president set up. He described a current school project in Chicago to introduce Transcendental Meditation to students and teachers through the Quiet Time programme. They chose the schools in the areas of greatest poverty as these were also the areas of most violence, for example Gage Park. Before teaching their programme, there were 150 police calls each year. In the first semester of this year, there were zero police calls. He showed press articles highlighting the dramatic change. The head of safety and security in the school’s district described a change of mindset that had taken place through the introduction of the Quiet Time programme.
Dr Shantha Godagama Milton Keynes UK
Practitioner of Ayurveda for 42 years, founding president of the British Ayurvedic Medical Council and co-founder of the College of Ayurveda in the UK. We now have self-governing regulation standards to the practice of Ayurveda, said Dr Godagama, where various Ayurvedic organisations work together using shared standards of practice and accreditation. Yoga needs to do the same: to get its house in order, Yoga needs to get all the various Yoga schools together and produce a self-regulatory body recognised the government and by the public.
Chet Jainn Crowdera Singapore
Mr Jainn described how Yoga and pranayama fixed a back problem for him in 2014 when he was having steroid injections to cope with the pain. He was very happy to be contributing his expertise to help the cause of yoga and the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences to raise funding required for establishing Ayurveda Centre of Excellence in the United Kingdom.
Kristina Arapovic Split Croatia
The rhythm of breathing is the rhythm of life, said Ms Arapovic. Turtles breathe very slowly and live for 300 years, she explained, while dogs breathe very fast and live for 15 years. Humans breathe somewhere in between these extremes and live for 70 years. Ms Arapovic demonstrated a simple pranayama practice that improves the breathing and makes it more balanced.
Gayatri Puranik Heidelberg Germany
Founding Board Member Ayurveda Umbrella Association Germany – ADAVED (Ayurveda Dachverband Deutschland), Co-Head of the Task Force for setting Quality Standards of Ayurvedic Products in Germany, managing directress of OM Vital Vertriebs GmbH; She comes from a traditional Indian family steeped in the practice of Ayurvedic manufacturing. She has been living in Germany since 1989 and importing Ayurvedic Products under the brand name of AASHWAMEDH since the last 20 years. Ms Puranik said that Ayurveda is a way of life, and that Yoga is the way to your soul.
Gordon Brennan London UK
Played the Jyotish astrological chart based on the starting time of today’s event, and explained that the success of this International Yoga Day was inevitable.
Dr Mahesh Matpathi London UK
Dr Matpathi described with Amarjeet Bhamra the new booklet for Indian Traditional Sciences, aimed primarily at parliamentarians, summarising the various branches in simple everyday language. 2000 copies are printed in the first run.
Dr Jose-Luis Alvarez, Maharishi Foundation International Brazil
All the knowledge expressed today unifies us all, said Dr Alvarez. Yoga belongs to everyone. Patanjali said: ‘In the vicinity of yoga, violent tendencies cease.’ The ability of yoga to create peace needs to be applied very widely, so that we don’t have any more wars like we have today.
Amarjeet-singh Bhamra Secretariat at All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences in the presence of the parliamentarians and world-wide on-line audience offered the following specialist awards to:
- Jyotish Ratna – Hon Kotamraju Narayan Rao. 2. Jyotish Ratna – Sanjay Rath. 3. Jyotish Ratna – Jayantkumar Sanghvi. 4. Jyotish Ratna – Anjana Dubey. 5. Yoga Ratna – HH Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwarananda.6. Yoga Ratna – Sukadev Bretz. 7. Ayurveda Ratna – Dr Ela Shah. 8. Ayurveda Ratna – Prof. Dr. Tanuja Manoj Nesari.
Bob Blackman MP tabled the following Early Day Motion in the Houses of Commons
That this House: joins the whole world in celebrating the 8th International Day of Yoga, on 21st June 2022, first adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 with the unprecedented support of 177 countries; recalls, at a time when the world is seeking peace and well-being for every individual and every nation, the great words of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in proposing this annual international event in 2014: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition, it embodies unity of mind and body; a holistic approach to health and well-being; a means to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature”; notes that extensive medical research has shown that Yoga has proven health benefits for a wide range of physical and mental disorders; urges that Yoga be included in the prevention and well-being initiatives within the NHS for patients and staff, along with the variety of other modalities from India’s traditional sciences; recommends that Yoga is made widely available throughout all levels of the education system to bring balance and harmony to all students and teachers; encourages all sectors of business and industry to make Yoga learning widely-available and provide facilities for its practice in all workplaces to improve the well-being and productivity of all employees; and calls on the Government to introduce Chairs of Yoga in all Medical Schools so that upcoming generations of doctors gain a thorough grounding in this time-tested knowledge of health and well-being for themselves and for their patients.
Amarjeet S Bhamra
22 June 2022