Embrace healthy living this International Yoga Day; balance all 5 elements in your body

Every human wish to live in harmony with oneself and the environment. In modern times, due to imbalance within ourselves and with our surroundings, there is disharmony which ultimately leads to stress, insomnia, anxiety, heart problems, chronic pains, disturbed metabolism, fatigue etc. Yoga is a scientifically proven practice to combat all these problems of the modern world. It is the greatest gift, with a history of over 5000 years that India has given to the world. In order to ensure holistic wellbeing of an individual and its growing therapeutic intervention in 21st century, United Nations proclaimed 21st June as the International Yoga Day by resolution 69/131. This year, it is going to celebrate 5th annual International yoga day with the theme "Yoga for Climate Action".

The word ‘Yoga' is derived from Sanskrit word ‘yuj' meaning ‘to join, to unite'. It refers to the unity and balance of all the five elements in our body and outside environment. The conceptual background of Yoga i.e., to master ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually, is rooted in Indian philosophy. The framework for the modern yoga comes from an old treatise called ‘Yoga-Sutra' by an Indian sage Patanjali. It helps to develop a greater understanding of ourselves, the purpose of life and finally awakening our spiritual consciousness  thus focusing on harmonious relationship between human beings and universe so to say matter and energy.

Yoga as a classical teaching has eight fold path as stated by Patanjali i.e., Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi but the modern practioners of Yoga emphasis on physical exercises called asanas and the breathing techniques i.e., pranayama, along with meditation and deep relaxation which leads to profound state of consciousness. The asanas help in strengthening our body, increases our flexibility, corrects body postures, coordination within various body parts, improves our metabolism and maintains energy and vitality. Pranayama helps in concentration, helps in reducing stress, anxiety and insomnia. a step by step meditation technique helps us to come in contact with our subconscious. it also helps us to overcome negative behavior and bad qualities. The traditional school yoga teaching focuses on practice of non-violence in speech and behavior, disciplined life and truthfulness in actions and purity of thought through control of mind over five senses by practicing meditation. Through regular practice a meditative state is reached where mind focuses on, and identifies with the soul and becomes one with the universal consciousness.

One can start Yoga with simple asanas like surya namaskar, simple spine strengthening poses, and pranayamas like kapalbhati, brahmari, anulomviyom and chanting of Om. It is also important to learn it from a yoga guru in order to ensure correct way to practice it and learn different types like hatha yoga (a branch of Yoga to prime body and mind), Raja Yoga (involves meditation and adherence to ‘eight limbs' of Yoga), Karma Yoga (path of service to get rid of selfishness and negativity), Bhakti Yoga (path of devotion and surrender to the universe), Jnana Yoga (developing wisdom and intellect through study), Tantra Yoga (pathway of ceremony, ritual and consummation of a relationship).

In 21st century, Yoga continues to grow in popularity as a practice to spread harmony and peace within ourselves and outside as well. There is a gradual shift in the attitude of people across the globe towards Yoga from merely practicising it as a way to keep themselves fit towards taking it as a profession.

The knowledge of Yoga has been rediscovered and approved by scientists all over the world thus have been found helpful by millions of people all across the globe. thus, we all should practice and celebrate Yoga with great fervor and enthusiasm as it plays an important role to improve our physical, mental, social and spiritual health and realization of divine within ourselves.

Happy International Yoga Day



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Sheetal Lalotra