Did you know that today is a special, celebration day? This year, it’s the 6th International Yoga Day.
In 2014 India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched an appeal to the UN for the holding of an International Yoga Day. Some 177 countries supported his call and chose June 21 as the date, which is also known as ‘the day of solstice’: the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere of the world. With this, India put yoga on the map, making it even more famous worldwide.
Narendra Modi also confirmed how yoga can connect the whole world, because yoga uses means that all people have in common: body, breath, and mind. You can watch his personal message for International Yoga Day on 21st June 2020.
The Philosophy Behind Yoga
In Sanskrit (the ancient sacred language of India) it is called yoga: yuga. Yugh means unification, connection, alignment. The root of the word is related to our word yoke, the meaning of which corresponds to merging, joining, connecting.
Like a yoke, connecting two oxen to join their strength. Through breathing exercises, body exercises (asanas), concentration exercises and meditation, yoga brings unity in body, mind and soul.
So Yoga is more than a physical activity. B.K.S. Iyengar, a famous yoga practitioner, highlighted: “Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”
For those who want a life with less stress, pain, illness and suffering, yoga is a tool that makes it possible to experience its liberation. Through the daily practice of yoga we create an inner state that is the most valuable thing a person can achieve.
I believe yoga can bring us really profound knowledge and insights of ourselves. This experience is something I would like to share with you, and maybe you’ll share it with somebody else in turn, so the world will eventually become a little more beautiful piece by piece.
The Eightfold Path
Indispensable in the intensive practice of yoga are the sutras of Patanjali. He mapped out the philosophy of yoga systematically for the first time and described, among other things, an eightfold path that can be followed.
By practicing this eightfold path you can become aware of processes and you can let go of what you no longer need. This can create peace and space.
5 precepts aimed at dealing with each other and the outside world. These rules are: non-violence, truth, honesty, chastity (also not wasting energy and talents) and without desire.
5 precepts for acquiring healthy habits and inner qualities resulting from abstinence. These disciplines are: cleanliness, satisfaction, self-control and self-examination. By the way, I personally believe in discipline from a natural need and not from coercion.
Obtaining physical health, strength and suppleness by practicing postures. This can also lead to mental balance. By practicing asanas (yoga) the mind can quiet down, this way you can prepare for meditation.
Gaining energy and vitality through breathing exercises. Breathing can also be used to calm the mind and help soothe and relieve pain in any way.
Directing the attention inward by withdrawing the five senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching). This can promote emotional peace.
Concentration by focusing your attention on a chosen topic. In gentleness, you let the thoughts that constantly demand attention go without judgment. Then you focus on the chosen subject again.
When you can concentrate for a period in softness without interruption or emerging thoughts, then you can speak of meditation. The space taken up by thoughts becomes smaller and smaller. From this permanent concentration you enter into a delay and relaxation from which you can ‘look’ at yourself and your way of acting. It is looking at the connections you make with your thoughts and feelings instead of looking at the thoughts and feelings themselves.
Sama means ‘right’ and dhi means ‘thinking’. An extraordinary experience of being. It is transcending normal consciousness, an inner peace that transcends all understanding. Samadhi has different phases, in which different experiences occur. Solving problems, these are experiences that go beyond all suffering. The final Samadhi is a state beyond all experiences and means enlightenment, unification.
2020 Theme: Yoga For Health – Yoga At Home
Yoga is a very powerful tool against the uncertainty and isolation of the lock down, but also to maintain physical well-being.
Especially now the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down has turned the balance between work and private life upside down and physical and mental well-being is put under pressure.
The practice of outdoor sports provided that social distancing is adhered to is now possible again. However, many yoga studios are not yet in a position to reopen.
Fortunately, there are a lot of online opportunities to take lessons. That’s why this year’s theme is all about ‘Yoga At Home’. In a previous post I gave you valuable tips on skilled yoga teachers online to practice yoga at your home.
The World Health Organization mentions yoga as a means to improve health in its Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: more active people for a healthier world.
Worldwide Yoga Activities
In India many yoga events are organized throughout the country on this day, such as a yoga session with 50,000 people and the prime minister. The government contributes some 2.5 million euros. This amount is divided over, for example, 190 embassies.In other countries, mainly large companies are snared to become sponsors of the International Yoga Day.
A lot of individual yoga teachers, offer free yoga classes today online trough their website or Facebook page.
You can also try out some basic yoga poses for beginners, I talked about in one of my previous posts, and the full protocol of International Yoga Day 2020 is avaliable for you online.
To learn more about the benefits of yoga and how this can change negative experiences and improve your quality of life, it’s nice to watch a documentary.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you already have some yoga experience or is this your first acquaintance?
Feel free to share your valuable thoughts with me.
With love ❤,