International Yoga Day: Uniting world through wellness


<br>Originating in ancient India, Yoga has transcended time and space to become a global phenomenon, attracting millions of seekers seeking balance and harmony. Beyond a mere exercise routine, Yoga encompasses a holistic approach to well-being, combining physical postures, breath control, meditation, and ethical principles to create a profound transformation within oneself.

From beginners taking their first steps on the mat to the experienced practitioners seeking further enlightenment, there is something profound for everyone to discover within the embrace of Yoga.

Practicing Yoga extends beyond the mat, permeating every facet of our lives, fostering mindfulness, and nurturing a sense of interconnectedness with the world around us.

As we approach the International Day of Yoga, the government has already rolled out multiple programmes as a run-up to the main day.

The important highlight of this day will be the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations (UN) headquarters on June 21 — the 9th International Day of Yoga. He will be leading the programme where mass demonstration of Yoga at the UN headquarters will take place.

As far as celebrations in India are concerned, the main event will be held in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

Director of Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi told IANS: “Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar will lead the programme in Jabalpur, which will be attended by over 15,000 people across the country.”

As India is hosting the G20 Presidency this year, the theme for International Yoga Day is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the world is one family and Yoga is an apt medium to bring the world closer and together.

“The theme this year is a continuation of last year’s theme, where we do not put an individual in the centre but consider everyone of us as one and bring us closer,” said Basavaraddi, who is also the head of the Institution of Yoga Certification Board of Ministry of Ayush.

Last year’s theme was ‘Yoga for Humanity’. When the world was in grip of Covid pandemic, the principles of Yoga helped heal it. The humanitarian values of Yoga healed the world.

“This year we take it to different things like the Ocean Ring of Yoga, where Navy, Coast Guard, Ministry of External Affairs, Merchant Navy practice Yoga at different ports in different countries. Our Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh ji is also participating from one of these ports,” Basavaraddi told.

Next is from the Arctic to Antarctica – where all countries near or falling near the Prime Meridian line have collaborated with the Ministry of External Affairs and United Nations to practise Yoga. Even the Indian research bases in the North and South Pole are practising Yoga.

“We are promoting Yoga in G20 countries and also with SCO countries,” he said.

“We also have Bharat Mala which comprises our Indian Army, Navy, Airforce, Coast Guard, BSF who also perform Yoga. But this year, we want to make it bigger so we have Yoga Sagar Mala. We have done it at railway stations, airports, bus stands, petrol pumps, and everywhere. Even at Panchayat and Anganwadi levels. We have even touched common service centres,” said Basavaraddi.

“We have reached islands like Andaman Nicobar too. It will be a mesmerising day on June 21 when everyone, everywhere gets together to perform yoga,” he added.

Yoga is practised in every part, every section of the society – be it jails or the Supreme Court, concerts or universities, hospitals or corporate sector. From safai karamchari and anganwadi workers to auto-drivers to corporate professionals, Yoga is everywhere.

“We’ve trained teachers in Ladakh. We’ve trained women master trainers in Jammu and Kashmir for Yoga. This is proof that Yoga is not confined to any religion. Yoga is for all. Yoga is a philosophy which helps to lead a healthy life. It is a medicine for the lifestyle,” Basavaraddi said.

Yoga has a universal appeal for holistic health. India now has a WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat, where Yoga is an integral part. Yoga has now taken a global centre stage because stress, pollution and lifestyle disorder has ruined our lives and research has proven that there are several means but yoga is best.

“You would be surprised to know when our Hon’ble Prime Minister proposed to celebrate Yoga, out of 193 countries in the United Nations, 177 countries co-sponsored it within three and a half months of this proposal,” Basavaraddi said.

He further said that Yoga has been taken to foreign countries. Yoga Day is celebrated across the world, in Australia, Europe, even in China and around 40 million people outside India practise Yoga regularly.

“And that’s a billion dollar business overseas for Yoga and wellness. That’s why Yoga is not confined to being a fitness programme, but it’s a wellness programme. It has become a global marketing trend, because many products/accessories like Yoga mat, Yoga Teaching Models have said to have become a huge market. A completely new service-oriented sector has come up due to Yoga, which has opened doors of job opportunities for the youngsters,” Basavaraddi explained.

Whether you seek strength and flexibility, stress relief, improved focus, or a deeper connection with your inner self, Yoga provides an all-encompassing framework to embark on this transformative journey.

It invites us to slow down, breathe consciously, and tune in to the present moment — respite from the demands and distractions of modern life.

“In my opinion Yoga has had four phases. Earlier, it originated to overcome our pain and we are never free from pain. We always suffer from one or the other pain. It is a tool to balance our psychological pain and helps in changing our mindset. Where do you feel pain – the pain is always in our mind. Where is happiness – it is also in our mind,” Basavaraddi concluded.


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