International Yoga Day 2022: With the theme of ‘Yoga for Humanity’, International Yoga Day 2022 takes a step forward in pushing yoga as an essential aspect of overall well being and good health. Since 2014 when the UN declared 21st June as the International Yoga Day till 2022, when around 25 crore people from across the world participated in this year’s Yoga Day, we have come a long way in accepting how Yoga is not only a life-changing experience but also a big contributor in general well being besides aiding in overcoming lifestyle health issues.
International Yoga Day: History
Yoga came into life thousands of years ago. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word Yuj, which means union of the individual yoga practitioners and universal consciousness. The word Yoga is so ancient that it has also been mentioned in ancient pieces of literature like the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda is one of the oldest and most sacred books in human history, which has been written and compiled 8-10 thousand years ago.
Classical Yoga is known to be a part of this Vedic literature and was propounded by Maharishi Patanjali approximately 5000 years ago. Yoga practices are not limited to enhancing physical activities; whereas, it also helps the individual to communicate and act wisely in any situation. The idea of celebrating the International Yoga Day and spreading all the valuable information related to it was conceived by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who initiated the concept of celebration of the International Yoga Day on September 27, 2021, in his speech at the UN General Assembly. The draft resolution released by India was also favoured by 177 nations. Since it started gaining popularity as soon as the approach of its celebration was favoured by various nations, the United Nations eventually declared 21 June as the International Day of Yoga on December 11, 2014. The first International Yoga Day was celebrated and observed on June 21, 2015.
Benefits of Yoga:
Yoga is a magical tool to increase flexibility in the body. Yoga helps loosen joints, limbs and muscles. Your muscles are stretched during yoga positions. It improves mobility and makes you feel less stiff or exhausted. Most people lose flexibility as they age, especially if they spend a lot of time sitting down, which causes pain and immobility. Yoga can help to reverse this trend.
Some yoga poses to increase flexibility are Intense Side Stretch (Parsvottanasana), Head to Knee pose (Janu Sirsasana) and Cat-Cow pose (Bitilasana Marjaryasana).
Many yoga positions can help to strengthen the core muscles in your stomach and back. A strong core leads to better posture, which can help prevent back and neck problems.
Some yoga poses to improve flexibility are Mountain Pose(Tadasana), Bridge Pose(Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) and Eagle Pose. (Garudasana)
Yoga strengthens and stabilises the core which can improve agility preventing tripping and falling incidents. One of the most significant advantages of yoga, particularly, is improved balance. Balance improves posture and functionality to help you move more efficiently through everyday life.
Some poses to improve balance: Mountain Pose-Chair Pose-Tree Pose (Tadasana-Utkatasana-
Supports Mental Health
The mind becomes quiet while practising yoga while it also teaches how to meditate and concentrate on your breathing and stop thinking. Yoga has been shown to increase good brain chemicals like endorphins while decreasing the stress hormones in our bodies.Research shows Yoga has a positive impact on mental health such as improvement in coping and self-compassion and reduction of stress, anxiety, depression, and obsessions
Some poses known to foster mental health are the high lunge (Anjaneyasana) and the Eagle pose (Garudasana).
Physical yoga poses help the respiratory system to strengthen and expand the lungs and provide them more breathing space, stimulating different body parts and promoting blood flow so that oxygen can be delivered to the tips of your toes.
Some poses known to improve breathing are: (Bhujangasana), Fish Pose (Matsyasana) and Bow Pose (Dhanurasana).
Yoga practice enhances your mind-body connection and heightens your body awareness.
In yoga, you learn to adjust your posture with small, subtle movements, which improves your body awareness. One also develops an uncritical acceptance of one’s body. This gradually makes you feel more at ease, which raises your self-confidence.
Some poses known to try are Child’s pose (Balasana), Downward dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and Warrior pose (Virabhadrasana).