“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” —The Bhagavad Gita
The International Yoga Day is just round the corner but celebrations are stalled owing to the pandemic. Nevertheless, last year’s theme allowed people to sink in the bliss of yoga with their families. So the question props up as to how yoga is of such immense significance that it is observed globally on June 21?
- History and Origin
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. The terminology cites Sanskrit, though a physical activity yoga uses the Sanskrit language. Yoga is an ancient practice which includes breathing, flexibility and strength. Yoga unites physical, mental and spiritual ‘asanas’. Asanas refer to the postures in yoga. Postures or asana along with breathing constitutes yoga as a discipline.
It’s origin can be traced back to northern India over 5,000 years ago where it first appeared in the Rig Veda. Yoga was redefined by Rishis (sages) who documented their practices and principles in the Upanishads. Yoga holds a place among the six schools of Hinduism philosophy. Meditation practices in Buddhism are also attributed to yoga.
The primacy of postures in yoga sets in with the foundational poses which aids in flexibility, improved muscle strength, increased blood flow, and protection of the spine. Works have cited the existence of 19 different types of yoga and 66 basic yoga postures.
- How all this began?
Other than being the origin country, India is credited for spreading this form of unification of soul and mind globally. Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga to the West as a science of the mind. Not only did he introduce this culture but also translated yogic scriptures from Sanskrit to English. Other than him, Shri Yogendra is known as the “Father of Modern Yoga Renaissance”. Shri Yogendra Museum of Classical Yoga – world’s first museum dedicated to yoga. Walking on the footsteps of these men, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji highlighted the importance of yoga in his United Nations General Assembly speech of 2014. He put forth his suggestion for observance of ‘Yoga Day’. The draft resolution proposed by India was sanctioned by 177 member states. Therefore, the first International Day of Yoga was observed around the world on June 21, 2015. Reflecting on the date, we know it is also called summer solstice- longest day of the year. So the selection was the conclusion of an in depth discussion prioritising it’s implication.
When man is mortal and a physical, mental and spiritual being a coordination among them is essential. Physical activity like yoga can help achieve this equilibrium while other forms cannot. One one hand where cardio, aerobics uplifts fitness, the pan of inner peace remains hanging. Whereas yoga equalizes the pans, attaining astral development. Along with the establishment of equilibrium, yoga accounts to numerous benefits:
- Helps to develop a holistic approach in life
- Keeps body and mind in sound health
- Unification of mind and body results in renewed confidence and improved happiness
- Pranayam regulates purification of internal organs also is a supplement to asanas
- Energy generated through this is channelised into meditation
- We are acquainted with the art of managing stress and maintaining calm in distress
- It removes negative blocks and toxins from the body
- Yoga promotes self healing
Understanding the benefits, we can analyse it’s necessary inclusion in our lifestyle.
Reminiscing the timeline of this day, our heart fills with contentment with six successful accomplished yoga day celebrations.
2015: Yoga for Harmony and Peace
2016: Yoga for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
2017: Yoga for Health
2018: Yoga for Peace
2019: Yoga for Heart
2020: Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family
Last year’s ceremony was distinct in a way; even with lockdown it was celebrated with pompously.
- Yoga: Internationally
When leaders like Swami Vivekananda had introduced yoga to the West, they continue to pursue it. And with time acknowledged India’s proposal. From beer yoga to nude yoga and dog yoga discovered worldwide baffle Indian yoga researchers. According to Indian Express news coming from New York shows how Mia Michelson-Bartlett engages with her audience from inside New York’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, so as to help New Yorkers overcome their cramped confines where audience joined her virtually. From stepping up the yoga game to virtually relaxing cramps yoga did it all.
- Present Times
Yoga played it’s part when the world was thrown in a swirling frenzy by the pandemic. With the ongoing horrendous second wave where people are struggling for oxygen cylinders, proning and anulom viyom is recommended by doctors effective in expanding lungs. ( Source: The Indian Express)
When a bleak future is all we view, the approaching International Yoga Day peeps through the darkness as glimmering hope. Where people romanticize a pandemic with revival of nature we can instill faith for the comeback of better days. With disasters laughing down at us; confining and restraining us. Uniting our body and soul to counter this devil is the least we can do. So let’s pledge ourselves to bring the back days where we can resume a yoga day celebration not virtually rather in midst of nature.
WRITTEN BY – Eshita Dey