International Yoga Day

International Yoga Day

International Yoga Day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2014 led to the official recognition and establishment of International Yoga Day, observed annually on June 21.

During his address at the UNGA in September 2014, PM Modi suggested the idea of dedicating a day to Yoga, recognizing its deep-rooted Indian origins and its global relevance. He eloquently said, “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action”. He called Yoga a holistic approach valuable to our health and well-being.

This proposal received overwhelming support, with a record 177 out of 193 member states endorsing the resolution. Within three months, the UNGA declared June 21 as International Yoga Day.

Every year since the inception of International Yoga Day, PM Modi has actively participated in the celebration. He has led public yoga sessions with thousands of participants and promoted the event extensively on various platforms. His engagement goes beyond mere participation; he has used the occasion to promote health, wellness, and peace.

Promotion and Global Recognition

PM Modi’s active role in International Yoga Day has boosted the visibility and popularity of Yoga in India and worldwide. His advocacy for Yoga has increased global recognition and acceptance of this ancient Indian practice. As a result, his efforts have significantly contributed to the broader awareness of Yoga’s holistic benefits, spanning physical, mental, and spiritual health.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi has consistently emphasized the importance of Yoga in maintaining physical and mental well-being. Amid lockdowns and social distancing, his encouragement of practicing Yoga at home has provided people with a valuable tool to manage stress and maintain their health.

What is Yoga Afterall

Patanjali, the ancient sage who compiled the Yoga Sutras, defines Yoga quite differently than it’s often understood in the modern world. Rather than focusing solely on physical postures or asanas, Patanjali presents Yoga as a broad discipline for achieving a state of mental tranquility and self-realization.

In the second sutra of the first chapter, Patanjali offers his succinct definition of Yoga: “Yogaś citta-vritti-nirodhaḥ,” which can be translated as “Yoga is the cessation of the modifications of the mind.” In other words, according to Patanjali, the goal of Yoga is to quiet the mind, cease the constant chatter of thoughts, and experience the true nature of reality.

To achieve this state, Patanjali outlined an eight-fold path known as Ashtanga Yoga or the “eight limbs” of Yoga. These include:

  1. Yama (ethical standards)
  2. Niyama (personal disciplines)
  3. Asana (body postures)
  4. Pranayama (breathing exercises)
  5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses)
  6. Dharana (concentration)
  7. Dhyana (meditation)
  8. Samadhi (bliss or enlightenment)

Similarly, Sadhguru says Yoga is more than just a physical practice involving asanas (postures). To him, Yoga is a profound science that unravels an individual’s full potential by manifesting the divine within oneself. This comprehensive understanding of Yoga transcends the physical, extending to human existence’s mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects.

Sadhguru defines Yoga as a systematic effort to transcend one’s limitations and reach a state of mukti, or liberation. Additionally, he emphasizes that Yoga is not about being super flexible or standing on your head but about cultivating inner resilience and understanding the holistic interplay between the body, mind, emotions, and energy.

He often quotes, “Yoga is not something that you do. Yoga is something that you become. It is not an act; it is a quality. If you cultivate your body, mind, emotions, and energies to a certain level of maturity, a certain quality arises within you. That is Yoga.”

Fundamentally, in Sadhguru’s teachings, Yoga is a tool for self-transformation. It’s about changing one’s perception of life from seeing things as separate to experiencing everything as a part of oneself. This shift, according to Sadhguru, is what Yoga seeks to achieve. It’s about union, oneness, and a deep sense of connectedness with the universe.

Sadhguru’s Global Impact

Sadhguru has played an instrumental role in spreading the essence of Yoga worldwide through the Isha Foundation. Offering yoga programs and workshops, he has made the wisdom of Yoga accessible to people of all backgrounds.

Sadhguru’s flagship program, ‘Inner Engineering,’ is a comprehensive system addressing every aspect of human well-being, from physical and emotional to mental and spiritual. This program and others have reached millions of people across the world.

Through digital platforms, Sadhguru’s teachings, guided meditations, and yoga sessions have reached a global audience, spreading awareness of Yoga and its benefits. His contributions have significantly impacted how Yoga is perceived and practiced globally.

The increasing awareness about health and wellness globally has made people more receptive to practices like Yoga. Scientific research supporting the health benefits of Yoga has further boosted its acceptance and adoption worldwide.