International Yoga Day

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Every year as the calender turns to the 21st day of the sixth moth of the year, the Earth takes a maximum tilt towards the Sun, causing the longest day of the year. A perfect event to celebrate the International Yoga day.

This day is always the 21st of June. It is known by the name of summer solstice, also known as estival solstice or midsummer. 

The world, since 2015 has celebrated annually, the International Yoga day on the 21st of June, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. 

The date was suggested by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in his UN address in 2014.  He stated:

“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.”

The meaning of Yoga was derived from Sanskrit which meant ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. The purpose of the act being to join/unit in harmony, the mind and body. It also entails the unification of individual consciousness to that of Universal consciousness; Since everything is interconnected. 

The aim of Yoga is to achieve a sense of self-realization where one overcomes all kinds of sufferings which leads to a state of liberation or freedom.

Historical evidences suggest the existence of Yoga dates back to 2700 B.C. in ancient India. In the essence of it, it’s a concept which explores ones spirituality and helps on keep their thoughts in control so that they may not suffer. 

According to David Gordon White, a scholar on the topic, yoga’s core principles include

  1. A meditative means of discovering dysfunctional perception and cognition, as well as overcoming it to release any suffering, find inner peace, and salvation. 
  2. The raising and expansion of consciousness from oneself to being coexisted with everyone and everything. 
  3. A path to omniscience and enlightened consciousness enabling one to comprehend impermanent.

Al Biruni, a Persian scholar of the 11th century visited India and lived with Hindus for 16 years. There he translated several Sanskrit works into Arabic and Persian; one of those was Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  Though, to preserve the core theme of monotheistic Islamic theology, some commentaries were restated. 

Originated in South Asia, Yoga specifically became popular in the west during the mid 20th Century, where people adopted the theology of an open and free world. Yoga became synonymous with words like harmony and peace. Ever since, people have in one form or the other tried to incorporate this in their daily routines. 

May it be morning yoga, or a meditation at night. A secluded time which is devoted to oneself, to provide stress relief and relaxation is important. Everyone needs to incorporate something which helps them do the same, and it turns out, yoga has been doing that for humans since thousands of years.

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Shaafay Zia
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