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Tai chi, yoga form bond reaching across borders

Zhao Shengnan
Updated: May 16,2015 11:02 AM     China Daily

Premier Li hosts Modi at demonstration highlighting health, peace and harmony

When hundreds of Chinese and Indians practiced tai chi and yoga together, sharing the same relaxing music at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven on May 15, the scene was strikingly harmonious considering the variety of participants.

Two groups of practitioners, young and old and all dressed in white, lifted the audience toward peace of mind at the place where people in ages past showed their respect for nature.

Premier Li Keqiang and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an avid yoga fan, conversed without interpreters while watching the six-minute show.

What brought the practitioners — or rather the two countries — together could be inferred from the leaders’ messages afterward: China and India, despite any differences that may exist, could join hands in pursuit of health and peace.

Both tai chi and yoga, with their time-honored histories, could provide benefits to physical and mental health in modern society, Li said, adding the performance displayed both sides’ determination to work together to achieve healthy lives for a combined 2.5 billion people, along with regional stability and lasting global peace.

“Yoga is the art of controlling body, mind and intellect,” Modi said. “Last September, when I proposed International Yoga Day at the United Nations, 177 countries supported it, and China was a co-sponsor with India.”

The message extended the list of areas of common ground highlighted during Modi’s ongoing visit to China dwarfing the problems to be settled by the two neighbors, such as well-known border issues.

President Xi Jinping gave an unusual hometown welcome to Modi on May 14 in Xi’an, Shaanxi province. The ancient city played a significant role in the spread of Buddhism from India to China.

Modi’s comments on yoga and Buddhism on his newly opened micro blog in China were welcomed by many Chinese yoga fans and Buddhists alike.

Hours before the performance, the countries signed an agreement about establishing a yoga college at Yunnan Minzu University in Yunnan province.

India will provide yoga specialists and help China to standardize Yoga techniques for the first time, Press Trust of India reported.

As a result, more Chinese may pick up yoga in the future, and the dance between the dragon and the elephant — an image often used in reference to China and India — will become ever more graceful.