With the current state of the world overflowing with stressors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, combative politics, and corporate greed, it can be nearly impossible to find a moment of respite among the chaos. That’s why it is so important to dedicate time for yourself where you can focus on self-improvement and healing, and there’s no better time for doing just that than on International Yoga Day.
Often associated with a form of exercise, the reality of yoga goes much deeper than that. The practice is a holistic approach to life intended to achieve harmony between mind and body through physical, mental, and spiritual development.
A Brief History of International Yoga Day
The concept of an International Day of Yoga was first introduced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on September 27th, 2014. Stressing the importance of Yoga within Indian culture, Narendra Modi’s speech delved into the widespread celebration of the practice and the many spiritual, physical, and mental benefits that come with it.
Later that same year on December 11th, the United Nations General Assembly declared that the 21st of June would be dedicated to celebrating the International Day of Yoga each year. This day holds significance in many cultures around the world since it is the date of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
It is also believed that on this date, the Adiyogi (or first yogi) turned to face his disciples, the Seven Sages, who worked to spread the practice throughout many regions across the globe. By celebrating International Yoga Day every year on this date, people honor the historical background of yoga and the positive influence it has had on humanity as a whole.
Ways to Celebrate
No matter your religion, nationality, ethnicity, or gender, yoga is an activity open for all to experience. Anyone is welcome to reap the benefits of this ancient practice, which may include a more flexible body, relief from stress, and an overall healthier lifestyle.
If you happen to be a beginner and don’t quite know where to start on your yoga journey, don’t worry! Though it might seem like an intimidating practice for someone new, the yoga community is meant to be supportive and non-judgmental. Let’s go over some simple ways you can celebrate on International Yoga Day.
Attend Virtual Yoga Events
Be an active participant within the yoga community by joining online events that celebrate the practice from the comfort of your own home. Attending virtual events can be a lot less anxiety-inducing than live events where you are surrounded by people you do not know, so this option may be good for beginners.
Find a Live Yoga Event
With many previous COVID-19 restrictions being lifted around the country, the possibility of finding a local International Yoga Day event is more attainable than it has been for the past two years.
There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by others who share the same passions you do, and yoga is certainly no different. Step directly into the yoga community by attending a celebration of International Yoga Day hosted somewhere near you.
Join a Yoga Retreat
Do you want to take your yoga experience to the next level? If that’s the case, then a yoga retreat might be perfect for you!
Spend time with a community of like minded individuals who all love yoga just as much as you do, with the added bonus of enjoying beautiful nature scenes that will assist you on your mindfulness journey. With a diverse range of options across the globe, you will be sure to find an environment that piques your interest and works with your budget.
Guidelines for Yoga Practice
If you intend on participating in a yoga event with others, or even have plans to observe the holiday on your own, there are some basic rules you should familiarize yourself with before you begin.
- Try not to eat for at least three hours before practicing yoga
- To increase your ability to focus during yoga, give your mind and body time to relax before you start
- Wear comfortable attire that allows you to be flexible
- If you’re a beginner, start with simple poses before moving on to more complicated ones
- Yoga is best practiced in the morning to keep you energized throughout the day
- Having a steady routine is important, so try to make a habit of practicing yoga for a short time every day to achieve the most benefits
Yoga is for Everyone
Yoga helps you stay healthy in a great many ways, such as promoting mindfulness, increasing flexibility and muscle strength, improving balance, boosting immunity, and reducing stress. The benefits are many and can improve daily habits for anyone who chooses to participate in the practice, so there is little drawback to giving yoga a try.
Even if you aren’t sure if yoga is the right activity for you, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to test the waters. You might even find your next favorite pastime in the process, so take the chance and see what happens.
However you decide to celebrate this year’s International Yoga Day will depend on your personal preferences, but just remember that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!