The 21st of June is the International Day of Yoga or ‘Yoga Day’ as declared by the United Nations. On this day that is dedicated to the importance of the inner and outer well-being of the human body, people across the globe practice yoga in groups. Going into its fourth year, Yoga Day is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of yoga as a spiritual, mental and physical practice. The theme for the 2018 celebration is ‘Yoga for Peace’.
Lesser known to some is the fact that the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi proposed that June 21st be observed as International Yoga Day to the United Nations. In an address to the UN general Assembly in 2014, Modi stated:
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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.”
Recognising the uniqueness of this idea and that this day may appeal to many, the United Nations declared 21st June 2014 International Yoga Day. This day has been recognised as one of the most outstanding triumphs of Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy.
Where then will Prime Minister Modi be on this day? The prime minister of India is scheduled to lead 55, 000 yoga enthusiasts in performing asana’s (a posture in which a practitioner sits) in the city of Dehradun. About 5000 events will be held to mark the day across the rest of the country.
From weight loss to giving you an energy boost, yoga has several advantages. Wherever you may be it is beyond easy to squeeze in 15 minutes of each day to practise yoga.
Yoga helps to stretch and tone your body. Several poses like the plank work on strengthening your arms, legs, shoulders and abs. One does not need to be extremely flexible to practice yoga. The beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced at different levels. Through yoga you also walk taller and have better posture. From practising yoga, you can reap the benefits of the gym in a peaceful and safe manner while boosting your metabolic system and protecting yourself from athletic injuries through stretching.
Life can get stressful. Everyday issues such as arguments, grief and difficulties in work environments can add emotional stress to your life. It has been shown that yoga is a stress reliever as it privileges inner peace, paying attention to your breath and mindfulness in your interactions with others. These elements can help you cope in stressful moments.
Because there are so many kids of yoga practices, it is possible for anyone to start regardless of your athleticism and body size. Modifications exist for every yoga pose and varying stages of difficulty are available. Wherever you come from around the world, the language of yoga is universal and welcomes everyone.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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