THE participants who thought they would master a technique or two in a yoga forum discussion got more than they expected.
It turned out to be an engaging and enriching session for more than 120 participants, including industry veterans, social workers and thought leaders, who gathered at Smart Innovation Centre on April 1.
They were there to attend two back to back events organised by the Global Citizen Forum - "Unity in Diversity" in the morning and "Conquer the World with Yoga" in the evening.
For the second event, the discussion was led by Mr V. Ravi Kumar, author of Yoga - Bharat's Invaluable Gift To The World.
An engineer by training, Mr Kumar quit his job to serve a social cause working with the youth of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
To date, he has conducted more than 200 yoga camps in 40 countries.
His book highlights the growing popularity of yoga across all levels of society and shows how yoga leads one to spiritual development by facilitating the control of the mind.
Mr Kumar explained that a person should endeavour to first conquer "the inner world", to discover peace within oneself with yoga.
Then look outwards to spread the message of peace and conquer the ecosystem of the outer world.
That was the concept of the workshop, he explained.
Mr Kumar set the discussion in context by demonstrating some simple yoga relaxation techniques which the participants tried out.
Citing examples of how politicians and popular sports teams across the world have been influenced by yoga, he went on to elaborate how yoga turned out to be the game-changer in their lives, providing the platform to maintain focus at the highest level.
In the second segment of the discussion, Mr Kumar shared some interesting insights on how India's rich culture and traditions transcend borders, mentioning the country's close cultural links with South-east Asia.
"The number of people who are practising yoga is increasing exponentially every year in Asian countries like China, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the last two years the global developments have been so phenomenal that I am considering documenting it in another yoga book," said Mr Kumar.
Dr Bhupendra Kumar Modi, founder member and chairman of Global Citizen Forum, said: "For all that it has to offer, yoga is still not properly emphasised and we hope to spread the word through all viable means. Personally, from the time I started practising yoga, my mental and work attitude has changed. I'm happier these days, leading a healthier life and most importantly I could make a difference to people's lives."
In the earlier forum held at the same venue, the topic of unity in diversity was discussed.
The keynote speaker was the author and social leader Indresh Kumar, who has been championing the cause of peace and religious harmony and embracing diversity for the past 40 years throughout the world.
Mr Indresh Kumar shared his experiences of meeting various global interfaith leaders and how he views the whole world as "connected into the oneness of peace".
Another guest speaker, the Kuala Lumpur-based Dato Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim shared his experiences of adopting and raising 16 children of different faiths.
The event was moderated by social activist Sazia Ilmi and towards the closing stages, popular Malaysian author Dr Anas Alam Faizil made references to the various countries' cultural context of spreading the value of peace and unity.
A question and answer session followed and Dr Modi spoke of his views on Singapore's role in the world in embracing unity in diversity.
The Global Citizen Forum, headquartered in Singapore, seeks to bring leaders from disciplines such as the philosophical, spiritual, religious, economic and political on a common platform to deliberate upon issues that affect the planet, with special focus on issues pertaining to women and youth.
Dr Modi has held wide-ranging discussions with global leaders from all walks of life, including religious and spiritual leaders, strengthening his belief in empowering human society and creating a harmonious world through a collective global consciousness.
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