International Yoga Day (June 21st)
Born in India and ruling over the entire world, yoga is a 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge which is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through physical, spiritual and mental practices such as yoga poses (asanas), meditation and breathing exercises. The word ‘Yoga’ has its roots in the Sanskrit word ‘yuk’ which means to attach, join or harness-union of the individual and the universal consciousness.
Yoga exists in different forms, the famous amongst which are Hatha yoga and Raja yoga. Maharishi Patanjali is the ‘father of Yoga’ who propounded this art form more than 5000 years ago. He compiled 195 Yoga Sutras that stay as the foundation of Yoga philosophy. Crux of Patanjali’s philosophy is the 8-fold path of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) in which the all-famous Pranayama or breathing exercises are also included.
A Path to Tranquility
The solar system has taken a fast-forward motion and the planets seem to spin too quickly! People don’t even find to talk to each other wrapped up in their busy schedules. Between all this craziness, each of us need our own little ‘me’ time to relax and energize our souls and body. Yoga and meditation prove to be the best solution providers for mental and physical relief.
A tool of inner transformation and liberation of the mind, yoga teachings provide the perfect platform to widen one’s awareness, approach life on a balanced perspective and achieve inner harmony.
Yoga for All
Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forth a proposal to the United Nations for an International Yoga Day in 2014 and this proposal was passed by the UN as India had the support of 177 nations across the world who co-sponsored the proposal. Since then, June 21st is celebrated as the International Day of yoga to raise awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga. Mr. Modi suggested the date of June 21st as the International Day of Yoga since it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and holds special significance all over the world. The theme for 2018 is ‘Yoga for Peace’. This shows that yoga is for everyone regardless of their culture, tradition or background and such widespread celebrations help to bring about change and progress towards a healthier and peaceful community.
While there are numerous studies and research done on the benefits of yoga to relieve numerous ailments, the results are mostly inconclusive without strong evidences. Individuals propose practicing yoga asanas to relieve back pain, digestive disorders, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine and other similar chronic pain conditions. Even Parkinson’s Disease, Autoimmune disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), stroke, eating disorders, renal functions and other important disorders and diseases show improvement and decrease pain when individuals begin to practice yoga regularly. For more information on the different asanas proposed to heal different diseases, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Practicing Yoga at Home
Before practicing at home, one needs to learn the asanas in a proper manner from certified yoga teachers. Please don’t try doing asanas by yourself relying on the videos posted online as this can lead to serious consequences sometimes. Once sure about the asanas, follow these tips to practice this art form at home:
International Yoga Day
The success of yoga is felt in the manner in which the International Day of Yoga is celebrated every year. Mr. Modi feels that yoga is ancient yet modern, it has the best of our past and present and holds a ray of hope for our future and the Yoga day has become one of the greatest mass movements for health and wellness.
Rishikesh is the world center of yoga which attracts thousands of foreign tourists every year to visit ashrams and learn yoga. Apart from tourist or business visas, the Indian Government has made arrangements to arrange for yoga visas in which visas are specially issued to foreigners who would like to visit India to learn yoga, seek treatment for diseases through yoga or Ayurveda and take back the knowledge to their country.
India kickstarted this year’s Yoga Day with more than 5000 events across the country. Dehradun hosts the main events and our Prime Minister performed yoga with more than 55000 people. UNESCO feels that yoga is an art of living, a way of being, that helps one find his/her own true self and connect with it. A display of yoga postures using laser beams on UN Secretariat wall is displayed today as a mark of celebration in New York.
All said and done, the world has embraced this powerful art form, so where do we stand in this venture? Trying to enroll in Zumba classes or salsa dance to keep ourselves fit? It’s high time that we start treating yoga as part of life, learn the techniques and practice them regularly to reap its multifaceted benefits.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.