What is International Yoga Day?

 

Did you know? International Yoga Day is celebrated on June 20 annually.

 

It is aimed to highlight the importance of yoga and raise awareness worldwide of the benefits of yoga practices and the health of people. Today, more than 170 countries are celebrating this day. It has helped them to achieve inner peace and improve their physical conditions, so it is guaranteed to make a positive impact on your life!

 

Origin of International Yoga Day

 

International Yoga Day is an ancient practice that originated about 5,000 years ago in India. The word “Yoga” came from Sanskrit, and it is defined to symbolize the union of body and mind. It was first celebrated in 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, and then it was proposed in a speech by Prime Minister Nerendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, 2014.

June 21 is the Summer Solstice, which means the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and many other parts of the world.

 

What is yoga and its importance?

 

You have heard about Yoga. But what exactly is it about? Yoga is known to be a mind-body practice that includes a combination of physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation to help reduce stress and anxiety. Practiced in India since the 5th century, yoga has been proven to be super beneficial as it targets both our mind and body. It is an important exercise that we should practice in our daily routine. Amid the pandemic, people are dealing with stress and depression. Hence, Yoga is a great practice for people dealing with mental stress.

 

5 Ways to relieve stress

Breathing Exercises (Pranayama)

 

Breathing exercise is also called ‘Pranayama’. Practicing breathing techniques has been scientifically proven to improve mental well-being and detoxify your body. It allows you to focus on breathing control through inhalation, breath retention, and exhalation patterns.

 

Taking up yoga breathing helps to improve hypertension, and digestive system function, boosts the immune system and strengthens the respiratory system, and many more health benefits too!

Here’s a quick guide on how to do Pranayama:

 

  1. Lay down a yoga mat, sit up straight and cross your legs.
  2. Cover your right nostrils with your right thumb and inhale from your left nostril.
  3. Next, close your left nostril with your right ring finger, then release your breath without exerting it.
  4. Repeat the process for another 15 minutes.

 

Yoga Asanas

 

‘Asana’ is derived as ‘posture’ or ‘seat’ in the Sankrit word. Yoga Asanas may be the start of your yoga journey. There are many different types and forms of yoga poses, ranging from basic to advanced levels. These yoga poses may not only boost your physical health, but they can also purify and heal your body, which means you can calm and focus your mind.  Most importantly, Asanas are mainly performed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.  

 

If you are wondering whether to begin asana practice, or you are entirely new to yoga, asanas act as a fundamental building block of your yoga journey. By incorporating it into your life, you will be able to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health.

 

Let us summarize the types of yoga poses for you to find which one best suits you. There are three types of asanas - meditative poses, relaxation poses, and cultural poses. These poses contain different purposes and techniques for it. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

 

  • ‘Naukasana’ is known as boat pose, it is meant to improve digestion and reduce belly fats as the abdominal muscles stretch.
  • ‘Dhanurasana’ is known as bow pose, it helps to improve the flexibility of your entire body, and boosts digestion and blood circulation.
  • ‘Vakrasana’ is known as twisted pose, it also aids in digestion to help in weight loss.
  • ‘Bhujangasana’ is known as cobra stretch, it helps to correct your spine while making it flexible too. It is mainly used in people dealing with arthritis, lower back pain, or even menstrual cramps!
  • Lastly, ‘Halasana’ also known as plough pose, releases tension from the shoulders, arms, and spine as you stretch your spinal system. It works best for people with obesity, constipation, and neck arthritis stiffness.

 

Of course, there are many types of asanas yet to mention. But these are the few common poses to get you started on your yoga journey. Yoga is an excellent mind-body practice to incorporate into your life.

 

Meditation techniques

 

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” - Lao Tzu

 

Wondering why you should meditate? Meditation is a useful self-care technique to achieve a peaceful state of mind, improved concentration, mental health, and sleep quality, which also means being more aware and living more fully in the present. There is a wide range of benefits of practicing meditation.

 

We tend to dwell on what happened in the past and what the future holds, which leads us to overwhelming negative emotions such as anxiety or stress. Meditation allows you to practice mindfulness, and to live in the present moment. You will slowly be able to find your inner peace and let go of these worries to live a happier and fulfilling life.

 

Instead of letting your thoughts be in control, start integrating meditation into your life and gain control of them. At the end of the day, you will have a healthy mind, body, and soul to live your life to the fullest.

 

Clear up your spaces

 

You may think this is not important, but it makes quite a big impact. Yoga teaches us to have clarity of mind and body. It’s time to focus on the space we inhabit and discard the things that we don’t need. By letting go of the things, we are creating a space for our mind and body to be comfortable.

 

Write a list of gratitude

 

It does not require you to perform yoga-related activities to relieve stress and celebrate International Yoga Day. You can simply take out a paper or a notebook to down the things you feel grateful for. Take some time to think through your mind and focus on the good and what you are thankful for as you let the positivity flow into your body.

 

You can start with, ‘Today, I am grateful for……” and write what you feel. You will feel more satisfied with life, happiness, and a positive mood as you practice gratitude.

 

Let us take part and celebrate International Yoga Day to become more physically well, make healthier decisions, and follow lifestyle routines that foster healthy living to unite your mind and body.

June 24, 2022 — August Berg