June 21:World celebrates 2nd International Yoga Day

Date: June 21, 2016

patanjali BKS Iyengar UN

The 2nd International Yoga Day is being celebrated all over the world with full enthusiasm.At the busy Times Square in New York thousands of people converged to mark a day which has become a global festival.

The Universal acceptance of this proposition indicates that the representatives of the different nations had either experienced yoga, heard about yoga or read about its benefits and thus there was no need to discuss or debate or vote on yoga. 

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One of the greatest contributors to the ‘universalisation’ of yoga has been Yogacharya BKS Iyengar who taught yoga for 82 years of his life. He started yoga to overcome ill-health and having a first-hand experience of human suffering, he started on a mission to help the others who suffered. Human suffering knows no nationality or religion or socio economic stature. Sufferings can be physical, mental, emotional or intellectual. Yoga can be a means for overcoming or withstanding it so that we progress stoically in this journey of life. In his own words, “Yoga cures what need not be endured and endures what cannot be cured.”

History and ideology of Yoga-

2500 years ago, Sage Patanjali who codified the system of yoga into Yoga sutras, clearly stated in the 30th sutra of the first chapter that the major obstacles in our life are disease, dullness which is physical in nature; doubt, negligence, idleness lack of moderation which are mental obstacles; living under illusions which is an intellectual limitation, and inability to hold on to what has been achieved and a scattered and oscillating mind which has intellectual as well as spiritual limitations. Yoga is a means to free all of these.

This path to yoga is eight fold. The first two are yama and niyama [moral and social discipline] teach us the art of living our lives. The next two are asana [moulding the body into various positions], pranayama [regulation of the life force] which are experimental sciences; while the next three pratyahara, dharana and dhyana are experiential philosophies which cannot even be expressed, while Samadhi is a state of eternal bliss. Thus, of these 8 aspects, the only two that can be done by an individual [as the rest are experiential] are asanas and pranayama. That is the reason, the world often associates yoga with asana and pranayama. And, it is only through these asanas and pranayama that you can experience the other aspects of yoga - ultimately letting one experience divine bliss. How far we progress in the path would depend upon the intensity of our practices.