Intro: United Nations General Assembly adopted an India—led resolution declaring June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’.
United Nations General Assembly adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’ recognising that “Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and wider the dissemination of information about the benefits of practising Yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population” on December 11.
The resolution has garnered a record number of 175 co-sponsors, including vast majority of member states and all the five permanent members as China, France, Russia, Britain and The United States of the UN Security Council.
It is for the first time such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days initiated by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Indian government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now appointed Shripad Yesso Naik as a Minister for Yoga. The partial efforts in the past were made to popularise yoga in the country eg, the motormen of central railway have been asked to follow compulsory yoga-training; Mumbai Municipal Corporation, has opened yoga section to offer yoga training for staff and legible patients of King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital.
Yoga developed in Ancient India
2500 years ago, the concepts of Hathyoga, Rajyoga, Tantra, and Sankhya etc during an era of Buddhism. A great sage Patanjali has later designed Ashtang Yoga Sutras (Eight principles of Yoga) in a scientific way during 400 BC. It is expounded in Madukya Upanishad.
During medieval period, many yoga-based theories were developed like Tibetan Yoga, Muslim Yoga, and Christian Yoga. Chinese Zen or Chan Buddhist system is based on Patanjali’s Dhyan. Vipasana Meditation is the hybrid yoga with the Buddhist tradition.
Yoga was introduced to Western countries by Swami Vivekananda, Babaji with Kriya yoga-siddhi, Ramdev Baba with his yoga camps and many other yoga-gurus.
On performing first four steps, Sadhaka (Aspirer) acquires power, vigour and mental satisfaction. By performing Pratyahara, the Sadhaka rises above material and worldly pleasures. Performance of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi would awaken dormant energy within the body known as Kundalini and offer wonderful and transcendental powers to the Sadhaka.
Yogacharya BKS Ayyangar (1918–2014) popularised Patanjali’s system in the world. Today 72 countries have Yoga-training centres opened through his efforts. His yoga guide book is translated into 13 languages. Just before his expiry he was to open yoga centre in Beijing. Belgium’s Queen Elizabeth’s ailment of paralysis was successfully cured through yoga based remedies provided by Ayyangar. He was awarded Padmabhushan in 2002 by Government of India.
Surya-Namaskaras (Sun-Prayer-postures) is a type of exercises which covers 10 yoga-postures and mantra-chanting. The Sadhaka achieves physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual strength through Surya-Namaskaras. With the elucidation of Appasaheb Pant on Surya-Namaskara Muslim community of Saudi Arabia had praised the system although opposed earlier. Pant was appointed as Envoy by Former Prime Minister Nehru and Pant had wide opportunity to associate with Muslim religious leaders.
Variety deviations of Yoga
There is now large market for yoga-based training schools in western world. The US and Britain Arm organisations have now special yoga-training sections. Michel Obama wife of the US President has advised many Executive officers, Students, Housewives et al in US for Yoga-training to curb tension and ill-health.
In US over 2 crores of population are practising yoga. With several schools and large number of people associated with yoga, the yoga Industry business is now flourished to the tune of 27 billion dollars.
In India or elsewhere several yoga schools named Anand, Anusara, Ashtang, Kundalini, Integral, Ishta, Jeevamukhi, and Kaththak are opened. Hybrid Yoga classes like Spinga (Yoga +Cycling), Yogalates (Yoga+Pillates) and Yoganetics (Yoga+Kinetics) are also in practise.
Yoga for pregnant women, Paddleboard yoga in running boat, Yoga in deep water (Baba Yogi Raj some months ago has made yoga demonstrations in Ulhasnagar, near Mumbai. Anti-gravity yoga is America’s latest fitness craze-acrobatics in mid-air with the help of hammock made from parachute silk are carried out for improving hormone functions. Dubai swaying to latest trend of baby yoga-gentle movement is undertaken for infants and mothers to stimulate digestive and nervous systems. Strala yoga scheme by Reebok Company—rapid movements are undertaken. Optical yoga – to get rid of spectacles, lenses, even surgery, eye exercises are undertaken.
Yoga can benefit women for breast cancer patients as found by University of Texas cancer centre. Yoga improves health and cuts stress as explained by Dr SC Manchanda, Cardiologist of Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi. Yoga slims down your face as told by Yogacharya Shelly Kiera. Yoga and pranayama reduce hair loss as stated by one of the schools in Mumbai. Emerged as Popular Power Yoga in US modified traditional yoga with intense level and flowing style. The targets of calorie burning, weight loss and muscle exercises are incorporated in the training. It has now footing in India and celebrities, bollywood artists, sports persons, Athletes prefer to visit Power Yoga centre instead of Diet and Gym centres. Vikram Chaudhary settled in America commenced his Vikram Yoga much earlier. Aspirer sitting in a closed room of 40 degree Celsius temperature carries out 26 yoga postures in 90 minutes.
Patanjali’s yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment of Atma with Paramatma in spiritual sense. Yoga postures are to be performed in the in normal comfort and not by rapid motions. The present yoga schools have adopted rapid motions for speedy remedial measures and business growth just as fast food causing health hazards.
Patanjali’s Yoga system is not to be taken as therapeutic. It is for the uplift of individual on holistic way. But business oriented people are desirous of yoga to be short-contended only for health improvement.
No doubt yoga has capability of remedying any kind of ailment if Patanjali’s principles are properly performed as it has quantum-based power of curing the diseases to be fought with the vibrations which has speed much more than that of light. Yoga system has however an ultimate aim to have bliss finally. But this can be achieved through the guidance of a qualified Guru (Teacher).
Achyut Railkar (The writer is a Civil Engineer and a project management consultant working on several projects)