Yoga seeks to unite the human body with the mind.

On June 21, the world comes together to celebrate the aspirations of the human spirit with yoga sessions. India, which gave birth to yoga, is continuously playing an important role in making this ancient science of holistic well-being accessible to a large part of the world’s population, keeping in mind the Indian philosophy of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, c i.e. “the whole world is one”. family.’

Yoga is a discipline which seeks to accomplish the union of the human body and mind towards the realization of its infinite potential and to elevate human consciousness beyond the limits of the individual mind and ego to that it merges with all of the omnipresent supreme consciousness. Regular practice of various principles of yoga contributes to holistic well-being by improving physical, physiological, psychological, emotional and intellectual health.

On September 27, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the United Nations General Assembly to take cognizance of the universal call of yoga. This is how June 21 became International Yoga Day (IDY).

India has also succeeded in making the world realize that yoga is an integral part of its ancient cultural heritage that dates back 5,000 years. The proactive efforts of the Indian government also led to the inscription of yoga on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in December 2016.

Today, the knowledge and practice of yoga has spread beyond the confines of East and South Asia. International Yoga Day is now celebrated as a festival in almost every country, by all creeds, races, castes, genders and age groups, making it the world’s largest health and wellness event. holistic of humanity.

The word Yoga is first mentioned in the ancient Rigveda text which was composed during the Indus-Saraswati Valley Civilization. It was later developed by the sages. Raj Yoga (the Yoga of Mind Management) was arranged into an eight-membered treatise, Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali during the 2nd century BC.

Srimad Bhagvad Gita, the most widely read scripture, mainly deals with four classical forms of yoga i.e. Jnana-yoga, Bhakti-yoga, Karma-yoga and Dhyana-yoga.

Although the western world is interested in yoga, its focus is mostly limited to the physical aspect of yoga. However, in recent decades, the American healthcare fraternity has used pranayama (regulated breathing techniques) and meditation in yoga for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Various research articles in PubMEd and research done in India in collaboration with AIIMS, NIMHANS, etc., clearly show the effectiveness of yoga in physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

India encourages the daily practice of Yoga among the people. The effectiveness of Pranayama manifested itself during the Covid-19 epidemic. Records show that millions of healthcare workers and Covid-19 patients in India have recovered sustainably and faster by practicing Yogasana, Pranayama and meditation.

To increase awareness of yoga and encourage its practice among people, the government has declared Yogasana as a competitive sport. India’s efforts to establish it in the Asian and Olympic Games continue. The Prime Minister also announced two categories of awards, international and national, to honor individuals and organizations that make outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of yoga.

Currently, about 1.25 lakh wellness centers are teaching yoga across the country. In rural India, the Gram Panchayats are continually sensitized to regular yoga practice and yoga protocols through various efforts. The Prime Minister wrote letters to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayat Pradhans to promote yoga-related activities. The practice of yoga was also introduced in the uniformed services.

(The author is Director, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, New Delhi)

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