Celebrating International Day of Yoga

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The science of yoga originated many thousands of years ago well before any religious or belief systems were institutionalized.

According to lore, Lord Shiva was believed to be the first Yogi and the first Guru who transmitted immense knowledge ,which then travelled to different parts of the world.

Several scholars believe that there are close parallels among ancient cultures in varied parts of the world. Sage Agastya who is revered in India and Indonesia, was a central figure in developing culture around the core of a yogic way of life.

Yoga is considered as an “immortal cultural outcome” of the Indus Valley civilization circa 2700 BC.

The yoga tradition is also seen in Vedic, Buddhist, Jain and folk traditions in Southern Asia and the well-known epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana which are widely known in Indonesia as well, have a strong yogic tradition imbedded in them.

The great sage Maharshi Patanjali is credited with the institutionalization of yogic practices, their meaning and virtue through the Yoga Sutra.

Later many sages and yoga masters contributed to the spread of this across the globe and it is impressive to see so many yoga schools across Indonesia. This universal appeal of yoga led the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to propose at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2014 to adopt the International Day of Yoga.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well-being.

Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us to deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” PM Modi said.

The universal appeal of yoga led to a record 177 countries, including India and Indonesia, co-sponsoring a resolution to establish June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. The Resolution recognized that yoga provides a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, bring harmony, disease prevention, health promotion and management of life style for comprehensive health for an individual and the community.

The objective of the international yoga day is to promote our universal aspiration for health and wellbeing in our individual lives and share our quest for balance and harmony between people and nature which is important for addressing global challenges.

Yoga essentially is a discipline based on a subtle science which harmonizes the mind and body.

It is an art for healthy living and the word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning to unite. Yoga practitioners believe that yoga links the union of the individual consciousness with universal consciousness.

Yoga also refers to an inner science through which humans can achieve union between the body and mind for harmony which leads to prevention of disease, holistic health and happiness.

Yoga indeed is a way of life for an individual and complements his own spiritual and religious beliefs. Yoga works essentially on one’s body and mind and emotional energy.

The yoga relating to the body is called Karma yoga. When the mind is also utilized it is Jnana Yoga. Bhakti Yoga emerges when we utilize our emotion, while Karma yoga utilizes our internal energy.

There are many diverse systems of yoga now and whatever an individual practices or learns normally falls within the ambit of one of these categories.

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