Yoga was being practiced by millions of people all over the world long before the world’s leader sat up and officially took notice of its benefits. When the United Nations started the initiative of recognizing universal yoga appeal through International Yoga Day, it has gone places it has never been before, reaching even more people.
How The World Got The International Yoga Day?
On December 11, 2014, following a representation earlier that year from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously voted in favor of declaring an International Day of Yoga.
As many as 177 member states unanimously adopted the text of the resolution which was drafted by India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Mukherji and introduced in the UN General Assembly on December 11, 2014.
June 21 was chosen as the day for Antarashtriya Yog Divas (International Yoga Day) as it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The day holds significance in many cultures across the world.
Most estimates suggest that yoga philosophy is hundreds of years old. The term Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit ‘Yuj’, which means to join, unite or yoke together. What the term is essentially referring to, is the unity or merging of the body, mind and spirit.
Through this unity, an individual can achieve self-realisation, or a state of freedom that is known as ‘kaivalya’. In this state, a person does not merely exist, but lives a life full of energy that is tempered with calmness, vitality and health.
No doubt, yoga has evolved from the time that the first yogi, believed to be Shiva or the Adi Yogi taught the first seven pupils yogic philosophy. Today, in the past millennium and more recently, in the last two centuries, the practice of yoga, especially as a form of exercise has gained immense popularity.
So, what exactly is so special about yoga?
The world over, people believe in the benefits of yoga, which they practice in a multitude of styles. They choose various permutations and combinations of yogic practices:
- Yama (Restraints)
- Niyama (Observances)
- Asana (Postures and Poses)
- Pranayama (Breathing)
- Pratyahara (Withdrawal)
- Dharana (Attention)
- Dhyana (Meditation)
- Samadhi /Samyama (Integration)
- Shat-karmas (De-toxification)
- Yukta-ahara (Food), and many
According to Dr, Ishwar Basavaraddy (Director of the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga), yoga works on the body, mind, emotion and energy. Based on this, there are four broad classifications of yoga, namely:
- Karma Yoga (Utilization of the body)
- Bhakti Yoga (Emotion)
- Gyana Yoga (Mind)
- Kriya Yoga (Energy).
Yoga gurus combine all these aspects to enable an individual to be a wholesome person. The benefits of yoga are many, and people experience them gradually on many levels of their minds and bodies.
Healthy minds and bodies make wholesome people who are capable of not just surviving the harshness of the world, but also living full lives.
Why you should practice yoga?
Yoga not only makes your body strong, supple and energetic, but also slowly improves the working of your inner organs, posture, bodily processes such as respiration, blood circulation, digestion, and menstruation.
Yoga can also be beneficial to several health conditions and injuries.
It also helps reduce mental and emotional stress, by making you focus on doing an asana and drawing your attention to your breath and body. This has a great impact on calming your mind.
The most crucial thing that International Yoga Day will do is introduce more and more people – not just in India but the world over – to yoga and its benefits.
Yoga at International Yoga Meditation Society (IYMS)
Rishikesh-based International Yoga & Meditation Society (IYMS) is a non-profit organization that aims at promoting yoga by initiating people into the philosophy in the traditional way.
IYMS is started in 1961 by Avdhoot Ji Maharaj and his disciples. It is a Registered Yoga School (RYS) that is certified by the Yoga Alliance. This world class yoga training facility has some of the best yoga gurus of Rishikesh.
Since its inception, the Society has trained over 2500 professionals belonging to over 35 countries, not just in the yoga asanas but in the philosophy and science that form the basis of yoga.
The Society offers courses for different styles of yoga, such as
- Ashtanga Yoga
- Hatha Yoga
- Meditation & Pranayam Retreat
Gurus at the ashram believe that learning yoga is a continuous process. They will assist you to identify a yoga style that is best suited to your needs and abilities and help you master the style.
- Courses are available for both individual practitioners and person aiming to become a yoga instructor.
- To ensure a good teacher-student ratio, seats are limited to 30 students per batch.
- Students stay in the Avdhoot Ashram for the duration of the course.
All over the world countries are organizing celebrations of International Yoga Day and flagging off various long-term initiatives. Furthermore, with such events, yoga is all set to get a major boost.
What better way to initiate yoga into your life than International Yoga Day? Join hundreds of others who too will take a step in the same direction and be part of the movement.