Yoga is a mix of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines. It is one of the six Āstika schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. Based on a 2,000-year-old treatise on yogic philosophy, instituted by the Indian sage Patanjali, its objective is to master the mind, control the emotions, and grow spiritually. Male yoga practitioners are known as yogis, and female yoga practitioners are called yoginis.
It is believed to be practiced by more than 3 million humans around the globe. The very popular practice has a 5,000-year history based on ancient Indian philosophy. It is a form of physical exercise that implies different types of poses and postures that promote improved control of the mind and body. It is strongly believed to enhance well-being.
No-one really knows who invented Yoga. There a no written evidence of its commencements, but the “Yoga Sutra,” one of the oldest known texts. It provides the framework for all modern yoga and is the ultimate guidebook that still rules the methods used for Yoga.
Contrarily to general public perception, Yoga postures and poses is not a key part of the practice. Physical fitness is not a primary goal. Practitioners and purists of yogic tradition focus more on controlling and extending spiritual energy using breathing methods and mental focus.
The tradition began to gain popularity in the West at the end of the 19th century, with its popularity peaking in the 1920s and 1930s. Today, Yoga has become one of the most preferred exercise and relaxation method, with claims that such practice enhances the body’s general well-being, alleviate physical injuries and chronic pain.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY
The idea of celebrating an International Yoga Day came from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. It originated on September 27th, while delivering his speech at the UN General Assembly. A resolution to establish June 21 as International Yoga Day was then introduced by India’s Ambassador, Asoke Kumar Mukerji. The resolution passed with the support from 177 nations, the highest number of co-sponsors for any UN resolution. June 21 was proclaimed International Yoga Day by the United Nations, from then on.
Why the 21st of June?
The date of June 21 was not a random choice. It is based on the fact that climate impacts the body, mind and soul. The 21st of June being the Summer Solstice, it is the day of the year when one could get the most out the sun hours. On that particular day, people around the world are solemnly invited to take out their yoga mats and start exercising, and work on ways to interconnect the mind, the body and the soul.
For its maiden launch, on June 21, 2015, nearly 36,000 people, including Prime Minister Modi, and many other high-profile political figures from all around the world, performed 21 asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes in New Delhi. That was the first International Yoga Day, and the day has been celebrated around the globe ever since.
Long Live the International Yoga Day