International Day of Yoga: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - July + Aug - 2015

International day of Yoga

Yoga is a system of holistic living, having the roots in Indian tradition and culture. It is a discipline to improve or develop one’s inherent power in a balanced manner. It offers the means to attain complete self-realisation. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Yoga is ’Yoke’. Yoga can therefore be defined as a means of uniting the individual spirit with the universal spirit of God. According to Maharishi Patanjali, Yoga is the suppression of modifications of the mind. Yoga has been evolved by the Rishi’s in India thousands of years back. In recent years yoga has started to gain global attention. First instances of yoga are found in Indus Valley Civilisation – dating back to 2700 BC. A number of pasupati seals are present in yogic posture, this proves the presence of yoga during the Indus valley civilization. The seals and idols of mother Goddess are suggestive of Tantra Yoga. Yoga is an evolutionary process in the development of human consciousness. People from various walks of life are getting attracted towards yoga. Yoga helps not only in preventing the disease it also helps in curing the body and mind. Modern day life which is highly stressful yoga is highly helpful in reducing the stress and other psychosomatic disorders. All forms of Yoga have healing potential, they can remove the effects of stress and pain. However, proper guidance should be taken from expert before choosing a form of yoga. Yoga also requires keen desire on the part of the practitioner to experience the higher states of consciousness through training the mind and refining the gross consciousness.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

“Patanjali defines yoga as” Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha “- Yoga is the cessation of mental fluctuations.” Hence, yoga can be defined as a state of complete stillness of mind. To achieve this goal, Patanjali prescribes the eight limbs or stages every practitioner must master. Eight stages of yoga described by Patanjali are:

  • Yama (moral restraints)
  • Niyama (spiritual practices)
  • Asana (seat posture with spine erect)
  • Pranayama (breath control)
  • Pratyahara (withdrawal of from the organs of sense and the organs of action)
  • Dharana (deep state of concentration)
  • Dhyana (directing attention to the subject of meditation)
  • Samadhi (complete absorption in super consciousness or divine mind)

The United Nations General Assembly, after the call for adoption during September 27, 2014 address to UNGA by Honorable PM, declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. 177 countries has ratified the resolution of celebrating 21st june as world day of yoga. It Had the “highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such nature.” During the september 27th speech PM Modi 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 yourself, the world and the nature. “ There are specific reasons for selecting june 21st as the date for International day of Yoga. June 21st is summer solistice and longest day for northern hemisphere. Other religious importance includes on this day of the summer solstice, Adiyogi [the first yogi] turned south and first set his eyes on the Saptarishis or Seven Sages, who were his first disciples to carry the science of yoga to many parts of the world. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also proposed the idea of celebrating the world day of yoga in 2011. The Ministry of AYUSH is given the responsibilities to make all arrangement for celebration of the International Day of Yoga in a befitting manner.

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