Significance of the International Day of Yoga

Thounaojam Bonbihari
It is an art and science of healthy living which focuses on bringing harmony between mind, body and soul. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind, body & soul, & also with Nature.
Objective of Yoga is self-realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to 'the state of liberation' or ‘freedom’.
The practice of Yoga is believed to have started with the very dawn of civilization. The science of Yoga has its origin thousands of years ago in ancient India. Shiva is seen as the first Yogi or Adi Yogi, and the first Guru or Adi Guru. Yoga works at the level of one’s body, emotion, mind and energy. Based on this there are four broad classifications of yoga
1. Karma yoga : it is the performing action without attachment to the outcome where we utilize the body.
2. Bhakti yoga : it is the path of love and devotion where we utilize love to overcome jealousy, hatred, anger, lust, ego, arrogance, pride…
3. Gyana yoga : path of knowledge and wisdom where we utilize the mind and intellect.
4. Raja yoga: where we utilize the energy to control the vast territory of our mind.
The Beginning
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi first floated the idea of the International Yoga Day during his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014. Taking cognisance of the widely acclaimed benefits and growing popularity of Yoga across the globe, United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga on December 11 the same year. On 11 December 2014, India's Permanent Representative introduced the draft resolution in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The draft received support from 177 member States who sponsored the text, which was adopted without a vote.
Why June 21 ?
When proposing 21 June as the date for International Day of Yoga, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the date was the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, having special significance in many parts of the world. In Indian calendar, the summer solstice marks the transition of the Sun to Dakshinayana.
In Hindu mythology, Shiva, the first Yogi (Adi Yogi), is said to have begun imparting the knowledge of Yoga to the rest of mankind on this day. Hence, celebration of International Day of Yoga on June 21st every year.
Common Yoga Protocol
The International Day of Yoga (IDY) requires harmonious mass demonstrations in which millions of people participate. In order to make the event a success, a common protocol was needed that will ensure that everything is in sync. Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) was developed jointly by some of the most accomplished Yoga gurus of India to ensure the harmonious conduct of the whole event. CYP makes sure that a single protocol yields maximum benefit to maximum number of people, through careful selec- tion of the asanas included in it. Common Yoga Protocol is, essentially, a spe- cified sequence of asanas, pranayama, kriya and dhya-na which lasts 45 minutes.
Common Yoga Protocol is the best way for beginners to get inducted into the highly rewarding world of Yoga. CYP emerged out of the IDY observance, as it was necessary that in the whole IDY event had the required internal harmony, thus requiring a uniform protocol. CYP is a guide to how and when an asana is to be performed, leading to the attainment health benefits to the maximum number of people, irrespective of age, gender, race and other distinctions. The whole world celebrates IYD based on this Common Yoga Protocol.
8th International Day of Yoga
The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated across the world annually on June 21 since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. 8th International Day of Yoga was celebrated across the glove on Tuesday, 21st June 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY) celebrations in Karnataka’s magnificent and historical Mysuru Palace. Speaking before the Yoga demonstration in which he participated for 45 minutes, PM Modi said, “The acceptance of that amrit spirit of India which gave energy to India’s freedom struggle. That is why mass Yoga demonstrations are being organised at 75 iconic locations across the country.”
“Yoga is not a part of life; it is a way of Life” PM Modi said. He added, “Yoga is ensuring the universal health. Yoga which was practiced in houses and spiritual centres is now being seen around the world. It has become natural human spirit.”
The theme for this year’s Yoga day celebrations is ‘Yoga for Humanity’. Around 25 crore people across the globe took part in various events, doing Yoga in unison towards better health and wellness for all. Practicing Yoga might seem like just stretching, but it can do much more for our body than the way we feel, look and move. It even helps us with increasing flexibility, muscle strength and body tone.
It improves respiration, energy and vitality. In Manipur it was celebrated across the length and breadth of the State in Govt, public, private offices, educational institutions and also by different organisations, clubs and even in households. It truly has become a global event.
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