Celebrating yoga day all over the world as World Yoga Day or International Day of Yoga on 21st of June every year was declared by the United Nations General Assembly on 11th of December in 2014. The declaration was done after the call by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the United Nations General Assembly on 27th of September in 2014 during his address to the UN General Assembly.
He called the United Nations General Assembly for adopting 21st of June as an International Yoga Day to get all the benefits of yoga for the people all around the world. He suggested 21st of June for adopting the World Yoga Day as this day is the longest day in Northern Hemisphere regions as well as of great significance for people in many parts of the world.
What did Narendra Modi say?
Narendra Modi said during his address to the UN General Assembly that “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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 yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
World Yoga Day was finally declared on 11th of December in 2014. It was first ever in the history that the initiative of any country has been proposed and implemented in the UN body within 90 days. This resolution has been adopted under the Global Health and Foreign Policy by the General Assembly in order to provide a holistic approach to the people worldwide for their health and well-being.Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being. Click To Tweet
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India and is now practiced in various forms around the world. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being. It promotes harmony among people, and between ourselves and the natural world. Recognizing its universal appeal, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.
World Yoga Day 2016
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that this year’s observance of the International Day of Yoga highlights the important role healthy living plays in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted last year by all 193 United Nations Member States.
As exercise, yoga has multiple benefits. Physical inactivity is linked with a number of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which are among the leading causes of illness and death worldwide. By improving fitness, teaching us how to breathe correctly, and working to diminish stress, yoga can help to cultivate healthier lifestyles.
Practicing yoga can also help raise awareness of our role as consumers of the planet’s resources and as individuals with a duty to respect and live in peace with our neighbours. All these elements are essential to building a sustainable future of dignity and opportunity for all.
On this International Day of Yoga, “I urge everyone to embrace healthier choices and lifestyles and to commit to unity with our fellow human beings, regardless of ethnicity, faith, age, gender identity or sexual orientation. Let us celebrate this Day – and every day – as members of one human family sharing one common, precious home.”
Objectives of World Yoga Day
International Day of Yoga has been adopted to fulfill the following objectives:
- To let people know the amazing and natural benefits of yoga
- To connect people to the nature by practicing yoga
- To make people get used of meditation through yoga
- To draw attention of people worldwide towards the holistic benefits of yoga
- To reduce the rate of health challenging diseases all over the world
- To bring communities much close together to spend a day for health from busy schedule
- To enhance growth, development and spread peace all through the world
- To help people in their bad situations themselves by getting relief from stress through yoga
- To strengthen the global coordination among people through yoga
- To make people aware of physical and mental diseases and its solutions through practicing yoga
- To protect unhealthy practices and promote and respect the good practices to make health better
- To let people know their rights of good health and healthy life style to completely enjoy the highest standard of physical and mental health
- To link between protection of health and sustainable health development
- To get win over all the health challenges through regular yoga practice.
- To promote better metal and physical health of people through yoga practice
Yoga gives health on zero budget, controls diabetes: Modi
Yoga has become a major economic activity worldwide, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. It gives health benefits on “zero budget”.
Modi spoke while leading over 30,000 yoga enthusiasts at the Capitol Complex in Delhi to mark the second International Yoga Day.
“There is no health insurance with zero budget but yoga gives health assurance on zero budget. For developing countries like India, a lot can be saved if we focus on preventive health care,” he said. “Among all the methods of preventive care, yoga is cheap and available to all. Therefore it is important to make yoga a part of our lives.”
Yoga can also control diabetes if not eliminate it, Prime Minister said. Addressing the gathering he said a public movement should be started through yoga to address the problem of diabetes in our country.
He urged those pursuing yoga to focus on the subject of diabetes before the third event of the UN-recognized day is celebrated next year. “This should be the main focus for the whole year. The number of diabetes cases is increasing. I don’t know if we can eliminate diabetes through yoga but we can definitely control it,” Modi said.
“If through yoga we can give relief to a small percentage of people suffering from diabetes this year, we can we pick up another disease next year. To ensure better health, we can address a new disease every year,” he said.Yoga gives health assurance on zero budget. Click To Tweet
Famous Indian Yogis
Let’s have a look at some of the great Yogis in India:
Maharishi Patanjali is the ‘father of Yoga’ who compiled 195 Yoga Sutras that became the foundation of Yoga philosophy. The commentary on these sutras is called Bhasya. The core essence of Patanjali is the eightfold path of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) that focuses upon healthy living through yoga.
Born in 788 AD in a village called Kaladi in Kerala Adi Shankaracharya was a philosopher of the greatest renown because he brought new life to the Vedas and restored them to their ancient glory. He revived Vedanta at a time when Vedanta philosophy was going through a period of darkness due to the excesses of ritualistic practice. His correct interpretations saw a revival in the status of the Vedas and so he was able to successfully advocate Advaita Vedanta.
Born in Calcutta in 1863, Swami Vivekananda showed a desire to unravel the spiritual and realize God even when he was a child. This is why he chose Ramakrishna as his Guru because he was sure that Ramakrishna would be able to demonstrate for him the reality of God. Ramakrishna introduced him to Advaita Vedanta and also told him that all religions are true. However, the best form of worship is service to man. The credit of introducing Vedanata and yoga to Europe and America goes to Swami Vivekananda.
Sri Aurobindo was one of the brilliant prolific spiritual personalities of India. Sri Aurobindo Ghose was a great yogi, philosopher and poet. Sri Aurobindo penned down a total 68 books on different domains of spiritualilty. His best publication is ‘The Life Divine’, which focuses upon theoretical aspects of Yoga, another one is ‘Synthesis of Yoga’ that throws light on practical facets of Yoga. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry is a great seat of spiritual practice, which is known as Integral Yoga. Auroville or Aurobindo Ashram spread the spirit of universal brotherhood. He was born in Kolkata on 15th August, 1872 and sent to London for study at the age of seven.
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was an Indian yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer and scholar. Often referred to as “The Father of Modern Yoga,” Krishnamacharya is widely regarded as one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century and is credited with the revival of hatha yoga. Krishnamacharya held degrees in all the six Vedic darśanas, or Indian philosophies.
Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the pioneer Indian Yoga masters who introduced meditation and Kriya Yoga to the western world through his book ‘Autography of a Yogi’. In one of his other books, ‘The Self-Realisation Fellowship Lessons’, he stressed upon the realization of God through Yogic practices.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born on 12th January, 1918 and is one of the great Indian Yoga gurus famous across the globe equally. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the founder of ‘Transcendental Meditation Techniques’.
Born in 1925 at a village called Toli in the Garhwal Himalayas, Swami Rama became the holder of the Sankhya Yoga tradition. He was encouraged by his Master Madhavananda Saraswati to travel and seek out all the remote monasteries in the Himalayas including Nepal. He is the first of the Yogis who was studied scientifically at Menninger clinic in USA. Scientists wanted to understand how he was able to control his heartbeat, body temperature and blood pressure voluntarily as these are involuntary processes. He is the founder of the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy with headquarters in USA and branches in India and Europe.
Born in South India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, popularly known as Gurudev could recite the Bhagavad Gita at an early age of four. By combining scientific temper with ancient spiritual wisdom, he has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and has offered them in a form that works in the 21st century. Sri Sri has offered to the world powerful techniques like Sudarshan Kriya, Chakra Kriya and Shakti Kriya for personal and social transformation. He is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association of Human Values and his programmes and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in 152 countries.
Hailing from the glorious tradition of Southern Indian Mysticism, Sadhguru is an accomplished yogi of the highest order and is among the few rare beings known as “Chakreshwara” – one who has complete mastery over the 114 chakras in the human system. He developed Isha Yoga, as a scientific method to accelerate the release of physical, mental and emotional blocks, resulting in a life-transforming experience of clarity and boundless energy. He is the founder of Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the wellbeing of the individual and the world for the past three decades.
Baba Ramdev should be credited for his exemplary work of creating awareness about Yoga across commoners around the world. Baba Ramdev specializes in different forms of pranayama which is said to cure many diseases and ailments including facilitating weight loss and lifestyle related disorders. Baba Ramdev’s pranayama modules are quite popular as yoga for weight loss.
As we look forward to celebrating the 2nd International Yoga Day, we must understand yoga in totality. Yoga is one of the greatest wealths of humankind.