Sunday, February 25, 2024

Yoga offers a haven of calm

21st June is the International Day of Yoga

Two important global events have been promoted initially by India. The United Nations have declared days like International Day of Non Violence and International Day of Yoga. These days we have seen the importance of Yoga around the world. Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
There is no doubt that yoga offers a haven of calm. It can reduce anxiety and promote mental wellbeing. It helps us to develop discipline and patience. It connects us to our planet, which so badly needs our protection. And it reveals our common humanity – helping us to understand that despite our differences, we are one.
The values behind the ancient Indian practice of yoga have influenced various aspects of how society in India functions, whether it be in relation to areas such as health and medicine or education and the arts. Based on unifying the mind with the body and soul to allow for greater mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing, the values of yoga form a major part of the community’s ethos.
Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga (IDY) by resolution 69/131.The day aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga. Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states. The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
The resolution notes “the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health.” In this regard, the World Health Organization has also urged its member states to help their citizens reduce physical inactivity, which is among the top ten leading causes of death worldwide, and a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations in his message for the Yoga Day 2023 said that “Yoga unites; it unites body and mind, humanity and nature, and millions of people across the globe, for whom it is a source of strength, harmony, and peace.”
The theme chosen for this year’s IDY 2023 is “Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” which beautifully encapsulates our collective aspiration for “One Earth, One Family, One Future.” The global celebration of IDY 2023 will be led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA; the National celebration of IDY 2023 will be led by Vice-President of India, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar at Jabalpur. On this IDY, let us embrace the spirit of unity, and resolve to build a better, more harmonious world for people, planet and ourselves. We can lead the world and prove how our traditions and values help the world to move towards sustainability.
(With inputs from UN publication and feedback may be sent to bkranjan@gmail.com)
Ranjan K Baruah
Ganeshguri,Guwahati

More articles