Ancient India has in many ways been the mother of all sciences, and now, a new chapter has been added with the United Nations endorsing the ancient wellness science of Yoga and deciding to dedicate 21 June every year as the International Day of Yoga.Health scientists and wellness experts all over the globe have tried to understand Yoga and have interpreted it in different ways.
Some feel it is anathema for the body,while others feel it nourishes the soul and the spirit. Bikram Choudhary, founder of Bikram Yoga College of India, feels, "It’s never too late it’s never too bad and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again."
For Choudhary,the date on which the International Day of Yoga is to be marked appears to have a significance of its own: 21 June marks the Summer Solstice and indicates the peak of summer. And this is apt, as he has perfected a new form of Hath Yoga known as Bikram Hot Yoga. After having taught his technique all over the world, Choudhary recently opened the first franchisee of Bikram Yoga Studio by Pallavi Aggarwal in Rajouri Garden,which will provide an apt venue for this ancient wellness practice. The studio can comfortably accommodate 35 practitioners. It is equipped with uniquely designed heater and humidifier to maintain the correct temperature and humidity needed for Bikram Hot Yoga, in pollution free environment. Choudhury began practising yoga at the tender age of four. He synthesised this form from traditional Hatha Yoga techniques. It is a scientifically proven technique using a combination of 40 degree heat with 40 per cent humidity.
The series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises has been designed in a way that it systematically works on every part of the body to give all the internal organs and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function. It is instrumental in building strength, endurance, balance and flexibility and helps in building mental determination and reducing the negative stress from minds. Heating the body makes it soft and flexible to mould it in any way the expert wants. It nourishes every cell in the body for better functioning.The heat helps lubricate the joints,allowing the body to become more flexible and removing the toxins from the body. Hot yoga is designed to improve the health performance and mental acuity of athletes or individuals interested in improving their level of fitness.According to sources, if practised in the right manner, Bikram Yoga can be 30 per cent more beneficial than any other form of yoga or exercise. It is a specialised form of yoga to be followed under supervision. A large number of celebrities in the West have tested Bikram Yoga. They include Madonna,Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Lady Gaga, Jenny McCarthy, Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney and Beyonce. David Beckham gave full credit to Bikram Yoga for helping him be fit to extend his career even when he reached his forties. India has patented over 100 postures and exercises and proved to the world that yoga is essentially a practice for the soul, working through the medium of the body.
"With (Prime Minister) Modi promoting yoga big time,celebrating International Yoga Day we see lot of awareness spreading across the world," said Pallavi Aggarwal. "The recognition, which yoga is getting now,will attract lot of new strata and segments of society to follow it, which will result in development of organised players in the industry spending on commercially sound models to teach yoga.Specialised forms of yoga like Bikram Hot Yoga will also find the place they deserve in the new scenario. Being a natural process it doesn’t have side effects or after effects. And like all other natural process it takes its own time, which our body requires. But we are confident once people see the results they will opt for this natural and reliable medium."
The Story of Yoga
Celebrating the first International Day of Yoga, Discovery Channel will premiere The Story of Yoga, an inspirational voyage into a widely popular discipline that embraces a holistic approach to a healthy mind,body and spirit. To be aired on 21 June at 9 pm on Discovery Channel, The Story of Yoga will take viewers through a fascinating journey to rediscover the age old practice. The show will be telecast in five languages including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu and Bangla. The Story of Yoga is an hour-long special that explores the evolution,mysticism, spiritualism and cultural ethos of yoga. It also captures its journey to the West and its emergence into the modern society and popular culture. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the UN General Assembly, called for marking an International Day of Yoga, which has now been declared to be held every year on 21 June.
Commenting on the programme,Rahul Johri,EVP and GM,South Asia,Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific said, "The Story of Yoga is one of the most comprehensive narratives that provide an indepth view on the evolution of yoga from an ancient practice to a lifestyle choice that’s making tremendous impact on people’s lives around the world.
We are delighted to be part of this great initiative led by India’s Prime Minister to turn 21 June into a people’s movement and are extremely pleased to showcase a truly fascinating story of yoga to our viewers around the globe." The Story of Yoga offers viewers an elaborate view into prominent yoga schools, the lives of new age gurus and trends.It traces unique forms of yoga, explores the traditional approach to yoga, understands Aurobindo’s philosophy among other things across yoga schools such as Iyengar School at Pune, Bihar School of Yoga at Munger, Internal Yoga at Pondicherry, Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh and many more.
The Story of Yoga visits yogpeeths and modern retreats to offer a never-seen-before look into yoga’s techniques,applications and philosophy. Travelling from the foothills of the Himalayas, traversing through the length and breadth of India, the programme gets viewers to rendezvous with avid practitioners of yoga. Through the show, viewers meet the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, modern yoga exponent Bharat Thakur and Bollywood stars and yoga practitioners like Anil Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty, and yoga guru Baba Ramdev to understand the spiritual and healing powers of yoga.
Navigating through the world, from India to California and Brazil to get a world perspective from new age spiritualist Deepak Chopra and celebrity yogini Deepika Mehta, the programme demystifies yoga’s worldwide appeal. Watch the complete episode of The Story of Yogaon International Day of Yoga, 21 June, at 9 pm.
Indian embassies in 20 countries are holding a photo exhibition, comprising 64 photographs of the finest practitioners of yoga, taken across India, Vietnam and the US to mark World Yoga Day.The photographs, shot by Benoy K Behl, marks a formal presentation before the world of the importance of Yoga. The exhibition will be held in Shanghai, Geneva,Reunion Island France, Sao Paulo, Athens,Bishkek, Beijing, Rabat, Port of Spain, Prague, Copenhagen, Birmingham UK, Zanzibar,Amman, Seychelles, Phnom Penh, Sri Lanka, The Hague, Armenia and Georgia.
Last month, Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda and WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan inaugurated Behl&’s photographic exhibition Yoga for All, Yoga for Health at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. "The world is going through a serious crisis of physical and mental health. In my firm view, Yoga is the only answer which is left for the world," said Behl. "The creation of a World Yoga Day by the Prime Minister has been a most remarkable act. Not only will the world benefit more from yoga owing to this act, but it also draws clear attention to India as the originator of yoga." Behl’s epic documentary on Yoga, shot across India and across the world, is also being screened in 50 countries on World Yoga Day.
In the meantime, Behl continues to make his second epic documentary on yoga, which he is shooting across the world. He is also taking hundreds of photographs of the finest practitioners of yoga in the world. Behl will be shooting in San Francisco on World Yoga Day.