While the entire month of June is celebrated as ‘Pride Month’ to mark the LGBTQIA+ movement for equal rights and opportunity, International Yoga Day is celebrated in June too. Bringing both these occasions together, R CITY mall – Mumbai’s iconic shopping and entertainment destination – hosted the ‘Pride Yoga Day’ on 20th of June 2022 in association with Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez’s YOLO Foundation.
The ‘Pride Yoga Day’ aimed to support the LGBTQIA+ community and promote their social inclusion while raising awareness about the value of Yoga, positivity and their overall holistic wellness. LGBTQ people as a group do not often discuss mental health and may be unaware of mental health concerns. This community also has higher rates of drug, alcohol, and cigarette use.
Hosted by comedian and writer Madhvendra Singh, the event kick-started with a panel discussion that included remarkable personalities like Varun Singhal, a certified Yoga teacher who has set up India’s first LGBTQ-friendly retreat in North Goa; Zoya Thomas Lobo, who has beaten the odds to become the country’s first trans photojournalist; Johann Arora, an awarded celebrity artist, Make-up and Yoga Instructor and Salma Khan, the first-ever third-sex person to be appointed to the Lok Adalat (DLSA) in Mumbai and the founder of the Kinnar Maa Trust.
In addition to the panel discussion, Johann Arora and Jacqueline Fernandez conducted a Yoga session, followed by a stand-up act by Madhvendra Singh. After this, the floor was open for an open mic wherein members of the LGBTQIA+ community shared their life stories and expressed gratitude for their social inclusion.