“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul”

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International Yoga Day

“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul”

                                                 Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style

The above quote shows the true spirit of Yoga in our life. The ultimate goal of yoga is, however, to help the individual to transcend the self and attain enlightenment. As the Bhagavad-Gita says, “A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Self, when the perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires, and becomes absorbed in the Self alone.” Man is a physical, mental and spiritual being; yoga helps promote a balanced development of all the three. Other forms of physical exercises, like aerobics, assure only physical well-being. They have little to do with the development of the spiritual or astral body. [1]

The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. The aim of Yoga is self-realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to ‘the state of liberation’ (Moksha) or ‘freedom’ (Kaivalya). Yoga exists since the down of human civilization in one or the other form. Documentaries and texts dating back till the date of 2700 BC have contention about yoga and its practice .the yogic lore, Shiva is seen as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and the first Guru or Adi Guru. Adiyogi poured his profound knowledge into the legendary Saptarishis or “seven sages”. The sages carried this powerful yogic science to different parts of the world, including Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa and South America.

Yoga has developed in phases starting from Lord Mahavira, Lord Buddha till Patanjali all these intellectuals had great impact on the development of Yoga and It’s practice. Swami Vivekananda also promoted Yoga in very effective manner and in the contemporary period intellectuals like Shri Shri Ravishankar have carried the good work of promoting Yoga throughout the world and taking the good work forward.

Yoga started to lose its importance in fast growing world which believed more technology based treatment. Yoga requires hard work and dedication and a high level of concentration which was very hard to maintain in today’s fast growing world. But as Yoga is such a gift of nature which makes human life free form the stress that it faces in today’s fast growing world that well-wisher of Yoga and well-wishers of human life thought that it was the high time when Yoga required promotion and what better than celebrating International Yoga Day for its promotion.

Intellectuals like Shri Shri Ravishankar started the demand International Yoga Day from early 2000 but only after the intervention of political pressure on the United Nations it was possible that International Yoga Day celebration came true. On December 11 in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. The declaration came after the call for the adoption of June 21st as International Day of Yoga by Hon’ble Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. During his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 he stated: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with you, the world and the nature.” The logic behind suggesting 21st June as International Yoga Day was that 21st June is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. This initiative found support from many global leaders. A total of 177 nations co-sponsored the resolution, which is the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA resolution of such nature.

The first International day of Yoga was celebrated in grand style in India with almost 35000 thousand NCC cadets performing Yoga together with Narendra Modi at Rajpath. Dignitaries from 84 countries were also present on the occasion. This celebration created one record in books of Limca Books of World Record and two records in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Ministry of AYUSH had arranged all these grand events.

Celebrations on 2nd International Yoga Day were even larger than first International Yoga Day. Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in celebrations at Chandigarh and Indian Permanent Mission to the UN celebrated International Yoga Day at United Nations. Sadhguru spoke as a Yoga master at the event.[2]

Now we are on the eve of celebrating 3rd International Yoga Day and the celebrations are going to be huge this time too as International Yoga Day (IYD) will be celebrated at an event in Lucknow on 21 June in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead some 55,000 people in performing ‘asanas’ (yogic postures) at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in the city. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath is himself heading the preparations to make the event a grand success. Students from City Montessori School Lucknow will performing Yoga live at UN headquarters in New York to mark the Occasion

Many reports and surveys have shown a rapid growth in the popularity of Yoga in western countries. UK has also seen a rapid growth in performing Yoga. Yoga has many benefits, the art of practicing yoga helps in controlling an individual’s mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a peaceful body and mind; it helps manage stress and anxiety and keeps you relaxing. It has so many benefits that in the coming time it will continue to grow more popular and eventually will be very helpful in keeping the human race fit for survival. Present days, Yoga Education is being imparted by many eminent Yoga Institutions, Yoga Colleges, Yoga Universities, Yoga Departments in the Universities, Naturopathy colleges and Private trusts & societies. Many Yoga Clinics, Yoga Therapy and Training Centers, Preventive Health Care Units of Yoga, Yoga Research Centers etc. have been established in Hospitals, Dispensaries, Medical Institutions and therapeutically setups. It is very heartwarming too see the growth in popularity of Yoga as it will keep humans health. The practice of Yoga is blossoming, and growing more vibrant every day.

Written by-
Sugam Shine 

Student Editor for section of Law Students, INBA

[1]Essence of Yoga, Available at: http://www.medindia.net/yoga-lifestyle/yoga-importance.htm, (Visited on June 20, 2017)

[2] “UN General Assembly to hold informal consultations on International Day of Yoga”, http://www.unic.org.in/items/Newsletter_July2015.pdf (Visited on June 20, 2017).

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