Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It is a spiritual discipline which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. The importance of yoga has been acknowledged by the global community. June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. This was declared following an appeal made by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narender Modi in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) wherein a resolution was adopted to observe 21st June as the International Day of Yoga (IDY). The prime minister stressed the importance of yoga and its role in disease prevention, health promotion and management of many lifestyle-related disorders. He also announced that there will be an official website (mea.gov.in/idy.htm) to be maintained by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Further, he inaugurated the Yoga Portal of UNESCO in Paris (www.Idayofyoga.Org).
Yoga for Health
The theme for the 2017 celebration, organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, is 'Yoga for Health’. The theme highlights the fact that yoga can contribute in a holistic way to achieve equilibrium between mind and body. This approach to health and wellbeing can make a direct and useful contribution to humankind's quest to achieve sustainable development and move towards lifestyles that are in harmony with nature.
The word "Yoga" is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. Yoga is a holistic concept encompassing body, mind, emotion and energy. This has given rise to four broad classifications of yoga: Karma Yoga- wherein we utilise the body; Jnāna Yoga - where we utilise the mind; Bhakti Yoga- where we utilise the emotion and Kriya Yoga- where we utilise the energy.
Sage Patanjali who codified the science of yoga described eight arms of yoga called “Ashtang Yoga”. These are: Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prānāyāma, Pratyāhara, Dhārana, Dhyāna and Samādhi. Most common form of yoga is various asanas (body postures) which bring stability of body and mind. Each asana has varied benefits. These asanas are expected to be performed according to one’s own capability and under the guidance of a yoga instructor.
Today, yoga is popular across the globe, not just because of its preventive and promotive role but also in the management of several lifestyle related diseases and disorders. It is especially found beneficial in managing mental and emotional distress. Hence, now-a-days yoga is being practiced as part of healthy lifestyle worldwide.
In today's lifestyle when health problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent, yoga is the perfect healthcare practice. Yoga is beneficial for physical fitness, musculoskeletal functioning and cardio-vascular health. It is very useful in the management of diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension and many lifestyle related disorders. It also helps to reduce depression, fatigue, anxiety disorders and stress.
The international day of yoga gives immense scope for discussing the ways and means of disseminating information about all aspects of yoga. For more information on IDY, Click here
A lot of activities have been planned in different parts of the country and across the world Click here for details
To know about general guidelines on yoga practice, read Common Yoga Protocol
“Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and Nature”- Shri Narendra Modi at the 69th session of United Nations General Assembly.