Quite a Stretch: Three Provinces Will Hold Global Yoga Day Events

Cambodia will celebrate the International Day of Yoga this month with a series of events held in three provinces.

The backdrop for the first activity, on June 14, will be the spectacular Angkor Wat in Ang­kor Archaeological Park, with a 6 a.m. yoga class in front of the temple. Last year’s event in the same location attracted more than 1,000 participants, according to the Embassy of India in Phnom Penh.

This will be followed on June 17 by similar events on Sokha Beach in Sihanoukville and at the capital’s Olympic National Stadium, both starting at 7 a.m.

All of the events are organized by the Embassy of India in partnership with the Cambodian government.

“Yoga is not only exercise, but a philosophy of mind, of life,” said Rajiv Kumar, charge d’affaires of the embassy, at a news conference on Tuesday.

“It’s a very ancient practice…. Nobody knows when it started,” he added.

On the initiative of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the U.N. decreed June 21 International Day of Yoga three years ago. Since then, Cambodia has been holding annual events to mark the occasion, Mr. Kumar said.

“I think Cambodians enjoy yoga,” said Ouk Diven, deputy director-general for sports at the Education Ministry. “They can practice at home or anywhere with only a mat.”

“Right now, it’s still new for Cambodians,” he said after the news conference. But he expects more and more people to take on yoga in the future, he added.

So Visothy, undersecretary of state at the Tourism Ministry, said participating in the global event was also a good opportunity to promote the country’s attractions.

“We are showcasing [Angkor], Cambodia’s coastal area and also Phnom Penh,” Mr. Visothy said on Tuesday.

The events are also part of Cambodia’s long-term strategy to attract Indian tourists he added. Cambodia saw 50,000 Indian tourists visit last year.

“I think [Yoga Day] is widely celebrated in India. And Cambodia is also part of this…. We’re trying to send the message that Cambodia is not far away, and joining India in celebrating an Indian initiative in the world,” Mr. Visothy said.

The event at Angkor is held in conjunction with the International Conference on Sustainable Tourism and Heritage Cities, which is expected to attract representatives from more than 30 countries.

All three events are free and open to all. Register to get a free yoga T-shirt at register.smart.com.kh

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