Yoga is a group of physical, mental, spiritual practices that originated in ancient India. It has its origin in Pre-Vedic, Vedic period, pre-classical era, classical era, and middle age too. Let us from today pledge to practice yoga every day and not restrict it to international yoga day only.
When is International yoga Day Celebrated?
It is celebrated on the 21st of June every year as International Yoga Day from 2015 and more than 170 countries supported the Yoga Day proposal proposed by Shri Narendra Modi in the United Nations general assembly on 27 September 2014.
Why is International yoga Day Celebrated on the 21st of June?
June 21st has the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere
From the perspective of yoga, summer solstice marks the transition to Dakshina Ayana, the half-year in which the sun moves from the north to the south, the winter solstice.
Those who are living in the northern hemisphere face significant changes in human physiology as the sun is now moving to the south and the planet is in an anticlockwise direction.
Dakshinaayana continues till Makara Sankranti, for a period of six months. The period is called sadhana paada. It refers to the practice of specific rituals for purification and receptivity. Patanjali explains 55 sutras in Chapter II of Patanjali Yoga sutra to attain sadhana, where we get the reference regarding Ashtanga yoga.
Effect of Dakshina Ayana on the body: The chakras [energy centers] present in the body has significant effects during Dakshina Ayana. Particularly the lower 3 chakras i.e. Muladhara, swaadisthaana, manipura are better purified during this period. The activation of these chakras can be achieved by the practice of yoga.
Definition of the word yoga according to
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Yoga is the calming down the fluctuations/patterns of consciousness
- Bhagavad-Gita: Be equal minded in both success and failure. Such equanimity is called Yoga
- Katha Upanishad: When the five senses, along with the mind, remain still and the intellect is not active, that is known as the highest state. They consider yoga to be firm restraint of the senses. Then one becomes un-distracted for yoga is the arising and the passing away
- Vaisheshika Sutra: Pleasure and suffering arise as a result of the drawing together of the sense organs, the mind, and objects. When that does not happen because the mind is in the self, there is no pleasure or suffering for one who is embodied. That is yoga
- Yogabija: The union of apana and prana, one’s own rajas and semen, the sun and moon, the individual soul and the supreme soul, and in the same way the union of all dualities, is called yoga.
- Yogacharya bhumi: Yoga is fourfold: faith, aspiration, perseverance, and means.
- Ashtanga yoga: The eight limbs of yoga, is Patanjali’s classification of classical yoga, as set out in his Yoga Sutras
During Dakshina Ayana for purification and activation of lower chakras, asana and pranayama can be practiced.
Asana refers to “seat”, postures for meditation. It also includes standing, inversions, backward, forward, extended, inverted, bending, reclining in the prone and supine position. Traditionally there are 84 asanas mentioned, but it differs according to different schools of thought.
Some of the asanas are
- Purification and activation of lower chakras
- Enhances Flexibility, balance, strength.
- Improves respiration.
- Calming down the fluctuations/patterns of consciousness
- Be equal minded in both success and failure