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YOGA- what is and why to do it

768 487 Kristina Babic

Up to recently, there were many people in the world that didn’t know the language or culture of India. Because of genuine efforts made by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, yoga and Indian culture has become appreciated and recognized worldwide for the last five years.

21st June – International Day of Yoga

Although yoga has been known on the western side of the world for the last century, in 2015 it has been recognized as a system that provides a holistic approach to health and well-being. At United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on 27 September 2014, a resolution has been passed to celebrate International Day of Yoga with a total of 177 nations co-sponsored it. This was the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA resolution of such nature. From that date onwards, we are celebrating Yoga Day every year on 21st of June. First International Day of Yoga was held in 2015 and reaching a world record number of people practicing yoga in one single session. That day, 35 985 people, including Narendra Modi and dignitaries from 84 nations, practiced yoga session and performed 21 different asanas (yoga postures). Many participants and countries that are joining in the celebration of yoga are increasing each year, making yoga a global phenomenon.

What is yoga

We can find traces of ancient knowledge of yoga some 5,000 years ago (3300 BC) in the Indus-Saraswati civilization in Northern India. Although some of today’s research shows that yoga is more than 10,000 years old. The word “Yoga” derives from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” meaning “to join” or “to unite” and it refers to a state of being where we are united/connected with ourselves, nature and the Universe in a deeper level of existence. In other words, in yoga we are perfect in balance with ourselves and our environment. Yogic exercises are helping us to enter and maintain that state of unity within body, mind and soul. That’s why it has so many benefits for each and one of us, regardless of our age, caste, creed, religion or gender.

Why should we do yoga

Yoga is helping people of all walks of life to regain and maintain their mental and physical health or develop self-awareness. There are over 3,000 scientific studies on the benefits of yoga showing that yoga is associated with improvement in a variety of mental alignments, including stress, anxiety, addictions, depression, eating disorders and cognitive functions, etc. The art of practicing yoga helps in making our mind calm and balanced, and the body more healthy and energized. Yoga is not only stretching exercise where you turn, twist, etc. Those are only small aspects of profound science that unfolds our infinite potential. Yoga helps us to transform consciousness and perceive our qualities to achieve our goals. It gives peace to our mind, making our life easier and helping us to handle stress and anxiety much easier. Yoga doesn’t have only benefits for individuals, it affects the environment as well. Once we are in a state of balance and serenity, we are creating a harmonious and peaceful environment and contributing to world peace.

Based on data from 34,525 adults aged 18 and older, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) published in a National Health Statistics Report its conclusion about how doing yoga is connected with well-being:

  • 86 percent said it reduced stress
  • 67 percent said it helped them feel better emotionally
  • 63 percent said it motivated them to exercise more regularly
  • 59 percent said it improved sleep
  • 82 percent said it improved overall health and made them feel better.
  • 43 percent said yoga motivated them to eat healthier
  • 39 percent said yoga eased coping with health problems
  • 25 percent of people who currently smoke cigarettes said yoga motivated them to cut back or stop smoking cigarettes
  • 12 percent of people who currently drink alcohol said yoga motivated them to cut back or stop drinking alcohol.

Is yoga for children

There are no restrictions on age or gender when it comes to yoga practice. Just like we are preparing the soil before putting the seeds, we need to prepare our mind before expanding our consciousness. The best time to do it is while we’re still children. Yoga will help children to keep the focus, improve quality of memory and overall brain functions. If we teach our children to do yoga, they will grow up into balanced and happy individuals.

Why there are different yoga styles

Although classical yoga includes many other elements, yoga as most of us are familiar is emphasizing psychical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dhyana). Many styles and types of yoga have emerged in the last decades and classical yoga postures have been modified so they are easier to do for a wider range of people. How to choose which yoga class is good for us? We have to figure out what we want, what is our intention or goal – do we want to improve our health; remove stress; increase mindfulness; gain strength; lose weight or else? Once we have the answer to this question we will know how to choose our practice.

How to start

Try to find simple yoga program for 20 minutes and see how you feel. Nowadays you can find it online or join the class in a yoga studio. Try it and see how you feel. You can explore different styles to find which is most suitable for you.

Acknowledgment

We want to thank all saints, sages, gurus and teachers that have showed and are showing us a path of improving ourselves, developing our body, mind and soul connection and reaching toward Universe and higher Self. We want to thank Adi Shankaracharya, Shri Maharishi Patanjali, Buddha, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sivananda Saraswati, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Rama, BKS Iyengar, K Pattabhi Jois, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev, Shri Shivakumar Swamiji Nasimath and many more who have showed and keep on showing us path of self-realization and making our lives filled with universal and abounded knowledge.

Let us celebrate yoga day every day!

INDIA – with Family Planning Association of India Bengaluru Branch at Bharatiya Vidyanikethan School, Kumara Park West, Bengaluru.

CROATIA, EUROPE- Divine Yoga Studio

CROATIA, EUROPE- Divine Yoga Studio with children

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