Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness, with yourself, the world and nature
Indians all across the globe have been celebrating Indian Independence day on August 15th every year. These celebrations were not only held in India but all across the globe wherever Indians are residing. Since the last three years, June 21st is being celebrated as International Day of Yoga, wherein the entire human fraternity has been coming together and celebrating the contribution of India towards Yoga.
Immediately on assuming office Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of an International Day of Yoga during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on 27th September 2014. Following this initial proposal, the United Nations General Assembly had received the support of 177 nations who co-sponsored the resolution, which is the highest number of co-sponsors for any United Nations resolutions of such nature wherein it was declared June 21st as the International Yoga Day. This indicates the global appeal of Yoga irrespective of Religion, Caste, Creed, Age and Gender Differences.
Yoga is being natural and spontaneous. It is a state of harmony in every aspect of life whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual and this brings a transformation from stress to happiness, not just at an individual level but at the level of society as well
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of The Art of Living, whose organization is there in more than 150 countries inaugurated the First International Day of Yoga celebrations at the UN headquarters on June 21st 2015 in the Presence of UN Secretary-General.
Yoga means uniting with your source. This happens when the mind which is chattering all the time suddenly becomes silent. The whole purpose of yoga is to be one with the self, to bring integrity and make you whole. As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji says, “Yoga is a skill in action. The skill is to see, how to keep your spirit uplifted, your energy high and accomplish the task in hand. This comes only by Yoga. Yoga should not be limited or misunderstood as just some exercise. It is a holistic development, expression & connection of human life.”
Sometimes it is not just physical illness, but mental and emotional illness too that needs to be dealt with. Anger, lust, greed, jealousy etc. As per Sage Patanjali who conceptualized “Yoga is the act of restraining or freeing the mind from the clutches of its modulations”. Through Yoga, we overcome all the different form of mental illness too, thereby becoming more happy, tolerant, joyful, and blissful.
There is a lot we impose on ourselves: every morning we wake up and brush our teeth, we then brush them again before going to bed. This is our discipline. It is nobody’s imposition; it is self-imposed. In the same way, keeping yourself clean, hygienic, exercising, meditating, being kind, considerate etc. All these rules you have imposed on yourself are all for your discipline. These keep us healthy and also our surroundings healthy and society at peace. Through Yoga, this discipline is easily achieved.
It is a challenge to allocate time for Yoga and Meditation practice. As with everything else, it is primarily a matter of setting the right priorities. The most common reason for not practising is lack of time. Yoga Day will help us in prioritizing our Yoga and Meditation practices. If you consider your physical and mental health as important then a regular yoga practice must find its place in your top priorities.
Once you start practising, you will soon begin to realize the benefits of your practice and then your commitment will grow accordingly. When we choose to practice we are establishing new habits that become stronger with time and consistency. We do this to overcome our old, unhelpful habits or undesirable samskaras (Habits) and replace them with more desirable samskaras (Habits) that moves us closer to our goals. As rightly said by Prime Minister “The way mobile has become a part of life, you can make Yoga a part of your life too”.
Yoga is being natural and spontaneous. It is a state of harmony in every aspect of life whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual and this brings a transformation from stress to happiness, not just at an individual level but at the level of society as well.
Today when the world battles challenges posed by terrorism and climate change, yoga has become more relevant than ever before as it shows the way to peace.
Yoga is so holistic that it includes everything. It is not a separate subject one studies in life like the others, it enriches your very experience of living. Yoga is not about what one will get, it is about what one can give up.
Our current civilization is easily the most environmentally, unfriendly human race ever had. Whether it is global warming, animal slaughter, toxicity arising out of the technology we are continuously destroying Mother Nature. Yoga works with nature and is able to awaken the higher power of nature within us. The practice of yoga will help in sustaining Global environment.
Prime Minister through his Message of Yoga and Swatch Bharat has conveyed the message of Mahatma Gandhi “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Yoga and Swatch Bharat will lead to an ecologically friendly, clean and peaceful earth.
Prejudice based on Religion, Race, Class, Gender, Education, and Financial status has led to the clogging of peoples mind and giving rise to conflicts in society. Yoga gives us the tools for internal, emotional, spiritual reconciliation and healing, which leads us to the principle of Ahimsa and Satyagraha propounded by Mahatma Gandhi. Through yoga and Meditation, we can remove the cause of violence, thus bringing peace to the world. Today when the world battles challenges posed by terrorism and climate change, yoga has become more relevant than ever before as it shows the way to peace.
As we celebrate this new International Day of Yoga, let us recall a few words from Prime Minister Modi, who told the UN General Assembly that “Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness, with yourself, the world and nature”. Peace is our very nature, and yoga leads you to inner peace and Global Peace.
Let us Celebrate Love, Joy, Happiness, Peace through YOGA on this International Day of Yoga.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
Volunteer at The Art of Living, Ex-Indian Railways/ IRCTC.