NEW DELHI: Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator for China, is gaining attention on Chinese social media for his rigorous yoga and fitness regimen, which includes breathing exercises in sub-zero temperatures to maintain physical and mental well-being. Chatterjee recently unveiled a documentary titled “Breathing for Good Health,” emphasizing the benefits of deep breathing exercises for immunity against viruses like COVID-19.
In the four-and-a-half-minute documentary, Chatterjee begins with the chanting of the ancient Sanskrit symbol “Om” while sitting shirtless on a frozen lake bed in Beijing.He demonstrates deep breathing exercises followed by stomach churning and Sheersh Asan, the headstand exercise, garnering viral attention on Chinese social media platforms.
“Breathing is the first thing we do when we come to the world and the last thing we do when we leave it,” he says as he sets to begin the exercise in the sub-zero temperature.
At the age of 60, Chatterjee reveals that upon his appointment as the lead UN diplomat in China in 2020, he faced health challenges including obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, and pre-diabetes with a high heart rate. Through high-intensity breathing, fasting, and exposure to cold, he managed to shed 25 kgs and achieve normal blood pressure and other health parameters, attaining physical and mental equilibrium.

Chatterjee’s appointment to head 26 UN offices in China made headlines amid India-China tensions over the eastern Ladakh standoff. Despite a challenging childhood marked by polio, Chatterjee rose to become a decorated Indian military officer, serving in elite para regiments and receiving accolades for gallantry.
“At three years I had polio, I still recall the electric shock treatment in the hospitals for the leg to reactivate it.”
He said he was among the fortunate ones who recovered completely from polio.
“I got into the National Defence Academy (NDA) on the second attempt in 1981. It was a transformative moment for me and brought about a dramatic change as I became a polo player, and a boxer winning the best boxing title and many things changed. Graduated from NDA, I joined the elite para regiment,” he said.
Later, he got a postgraduate degree from the Ivy League Princeton University in the US.
His family too has an India-China connection.
While he heads the UN mission in China his wife Ban Hyun-Hee from South Korea is the chief of UNICEF social policy in India.
In addition to his diplomatic career spanning 25 years and serving in various countries and regions, Chatterjee’s current focus is on promoting the benefits of deep breathing exercises to combat health issues. He has released tutorial videos to educate and encourage people to practice deep breathing exercises in various environments for stress relief and rejuvenation.
(With inputs from agency)

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