Recognising its universal appeal, on December 11, 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131. The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states
The word Yoga first appeared in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda, and is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means join or unite.
According to the Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads an individual to the union of consciousness with that of universal Consciousness. It eventually leads to a great harmony between the human mind and body, man & nature.
This is thus essentially a spiritual discipline that centralizes on subtle science that focuses on achieving harmony between an individual’s mind and body.
Over 5,000 years ago the practice of Yoga was started during the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India. It was first mentioned in Rig Veda, a collection of texts that consisted of rituals, mantras, and songs which was mainly used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests.
Yoga was slowly developed by Brahmans who eventually documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads that have over 200 scriptures.
Yoga in Vedas means a yoke. In some early writings, Yoga was mainly used in describing a warrior dying and transcending into the heavens while at the back of his chariot to the gods and the higher powers of being. During the Vedic times, Vedic priests were generally self-disciplined and avoided any forms of indulgence instead; they performed sacrifices which were known as yajna, and used poses that most researchers believe are the precursor of the kind of Yoga poses we use today in the modern world.
In the 3rd Century BCE, the word “yoga” became common in other religions like Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist writings. In Mahayana Buddhism, the practice of yoga for both spiritual and meditative use was known as Yogachara which consisted of eight significant steps of meditation called “insight”.
In the 5th century, yoga was meant for meditation and religious use, but not as a form of workout. At around the same time, the concept became even more established among the Jains, Buddhists, and Hindus. The first versions of yoga were meant for spiritual practices and revolved around several core values.
The first core value analysed an individual’s perception and cognitive state while understanding the cause of suffering and eventually using meditation to solve the issue. The second core value focused on boosting consciousness, and the third was used as a way of achieving transcendence. The fourth value was full of mystery because it used Yoga to penetrate other people’s bodies and act supernaturally.
Yoga later became widely valued because of the Indian nationalist movement as a way of building up pride and cultural identity. Surprisingly, the practice of Yoga was widely promoted by powerful families, institutions, and activities until India attained its independence in 1947.
Today, Yoga is practised worldwide by millions of people in many forms and variations and it has become increasingly popular in recent years, with over 36 million people practising it in the U.S. alone. According to the International Yoga Federation, about 300 million people practice globally!
Recognising its universal appeal, on December 11, 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131. The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states.
One should practice yoga during the coronavirus pandemic. Because Yoga is a holistic practice that strengthens our physical body, as well as the microscopic systems that are not visible. As a result, the body’s natural defence mechanisms also improve.
A healthy, disease-free body can be easily achieved by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including eating unprocessed, whole foods, maintaining a regular yoga and meditation practice, getting plenty of sleep, and minimizing stressors. Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation are the keys to achieving our full potential. To reap the immune-boosting results of yoga, be sure to maintain a daily practice!
While a regular yoga practice, combined with a 20-minute meditation, can result in increased health. However, know that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained teacher. In the case of a medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor.
Ministry of Ayush and the Tourism Ministry are promoting India as a ‘Yoga Tourism’ hub, where people can come to heal their bodies and calm their minds. Their catch-phrase is ‘India, Land of Yoga’. It is also being linked to medical tourism in India and appeals to people to opt for holistic health solutions.
The Government of India gives out a list of authentic Yoga institutes as well as the publicity material with yoga postures, which are distributed to the public through the Ministry of Tourism centres internationally. Some cities, such as Haridwar and Rishikesh, are being promoted as yoga hubs, in the same vein as Kerala has promoted itself as a state for Ayurvedic massages. Rishikesh is being promoted as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. Some of the other cities in the ‘Yoga’ circuit are Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Munger, Puducherry, and Pune.
the Government of India is also giving tourist visas and e-tourist visas to foreigners who want to pursue short-term courses in Yoga in India along with short-duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine, recreation, sightseeing, and casual visits for business or to meet friends.
People from 150 countries can avail the benefit of e-tourist visas at as many as 16 Indian airports. It means that they can travel to India with the printout of an email approval of their visa application, and get it stamped at the time of entry into the country. India also offers a visa-on-arrival facility to the Japanese – which has a validity of 30 days.
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