International Day of Yoga
International Day of Yoga or commonly and unofficially referred to as Yoga Day, is celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in 2015. An international day for yoga was declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) on 11 December 2014. Yoga is a physical, Mental and Spiritual Practice attributed mostly to India. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN address suggested the date of 21 June,
The idea of an International Day of Yoga was first proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi during his speech at the UNGA, on 27 September 2014.
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. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.
— Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly
Following this initial proposal, the UNGA held informal consultations on the draft resolution entitled “International Day of Yoga”, on 14 October 2014. The consultations were convened by the delegation of India.
“175 nations, including USA, Canada and China co-sponsored the resolution.” It had the “highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such nature.”
Ministry of Ayush also published Common Yoga Protocol in their website. You can also check here common-yoga-protocol
The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means to join or unite. The union referred to is that of the individual self-uniting with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit. Yoga is believed to have evolved during the period of the ‘Sat Yuga’, also called the Golden age. It was not until the discovery of the Indus- valley civilization, the largest civilization: that the knowledge about the origin of Yoga surfaced. One of the earliest expositions on Yoga was written by the Indian sage Patanjali. His work, known today as “Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras”
Yoga a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of Yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Raja yoga. The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; it is mentioned in the Rigveda, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE in ancient movements. The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is unclear, varyingly credited to Hindu Upanishads. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE, but only gained prominence in the West in the 20th century. Hatha yoga texts emerged around the 11th century with origins in tantra.
Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world.Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise; it has a meditative and spiritual core. One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu Samkhya philosophy.
The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation), although the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.
According to Jacobsen, “Yoga has five principal meanings:
Yoga, as a disciplined method for attaining a goal;
- Yoga, as techniques of controlling the body and the mind;
- Yoga, as a name of one of the schools or systems of philosophy (darśana);
- Yoga, in connection with other words, such as “hatha-, mantra-, and laya-,” referring to traditions specialising in particular techniques of yoga;
- Yoga, as the goal of Yoga practice.”
According to David Gordon White, from the 5th century CE onward, the core principles of “yoga” were more or less in place, and variations of these principles developed in various forms over time:
Yoga, is a meditative means of discovering dysfunctional perception and cognition, as well as overcoming it for release from suffering, inner peace and salvation; illustration of this principle is found in Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Yogasutras, in a number of Buddhist Mahāyāna works, as well as Jain texts;
Yoga, as the raising and expansion of consciousness from oneself to being coextensive with everyone and everything; these are discussed in sources such as in Hinduism Vedic literature and its Epic Mahābhārata, Jainism Praśamaratiprakarana, and Buddhist Nikaya texts;
Yoga, as a path to omniscience and enlightened consciousness enabling one to comprehend the impermanent (illusive, delusive) and permanent (true, transcendent) reality; examples are found in Hinduism Nyaya and Vaisesikaschool texts as well as Buddhism Mādhyamaka texts, but in different ways;
- Yoga, as a technique for entering into other bodies, generating multiple bodies, and the attainment of other supernatural accomplishments; these are, states White, described inTantric literature of Hinduism and Buddhism Yoga’s goal as meditation-driven means to liberation in Indian religions.
White clarifies that the last principle relates to legendary goals of “yogi practice”, different from practical goals of “yoga practice,” as they are viewed in South Asian thought and practice since the beginning of the Common Era, in the various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain philosophical schools.
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 stagesevery practitioner must master. Today, Ashtanga yoga (which means ‘eight-limbedyoga’) is sometimes thought to be a particular style or series of postures. Butthese are really the eight stages described by Patanjali. They are:
- Yama (The five “abstentions” – Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha)
- Niyama (The five “observances” – Purity, Contentment, perseverance, self-reflection, Supreme Being)
- Asana (seat posture with spine erect)
- Pranayama (“Breath exercises”): Prāna, breath, “āyāma”, to “stretch, extend, restrain, stop”.
- 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)
Yoga works on the level of one’s body, mind, emotion and energy. This has given rise to four broad classifications of Yoga:
- Karma Yoga – Using body
- Jnana Yoga – Using Mind
- Bhakti Yoga – Using Emotions
- Kriya Yoga – Using Energy
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Information is sourced from wikipedia and other sources