Celebrating International Yoga Day: nurturing mind, body and spirit

Yogi Devraj creating Guiness World record in Veerabhadra Asana during Dec 2019 in Bangalore. PHOTO: Courtesy Piya Jyoti Kachroo

To have a good quality of life, a person needs a balanced lifestyle which includes a healthy body and a healthy mind. “Yoga” incorporates and addresses both of these aspects.

Yoga, derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj,” means union, symbolizing the harmonious integration of mind, body, and spirit. It is an age-old practice that originated in ancient India and has evolved over thousands of years. Yoga encompasses a wide range of techniques, including physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation, and ethical principles, all aimed at achieving a state of balance, tranquility, and self-awareness.

One of the key aspects of yoga is its ability to enhance physical well-being. The practice of yoga asanas promotes strength, flexibility, and balance. From the gentle movements of Hatha Yoga to the dynamic sequences of Vinyasa, yoga offers a variety of styles suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Regular yoga practice can improve posture, boost metabolism, increase energy levels, and contribute to overall physical fitness.

In addition to its physical benefits, yoga is renowned for its positive impact on mental and emotional health. Through focused breathing and mindfulness, yoga helps calm the mind, reduce stress, and alleviate anxiety and depression. It encourages self-reflection and self-acceptance, fostering a deeper connection with oneself. Regular practice can improve concentration, enhance clarity of thought, and promote emotional resilience, enabling individuals to navigate the challenges of life with greater ease.

Yoga provides a pathway to spiritual growth and inner harmony. By cultivating awareness and mindfulness, practitioners can develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their connection to the world around them. Through meditation and contemplation, yoga allows individuals to tap into their inner wisdom, fostering a sense of purpose and meaning. It encourages compassion, gratitude, and a sense of unity with others, promoting a more harmonious and inclusive society.

International Yoga Day serves as a global celebration of this ancient practice, transcending cultural, religious, and geographical boundaries. On this day, millions of people around the world come together to participate in yoga sessions, workshops, and other events. Communities organize mass yoga demonstrations in parks, public spaces, and iconic landmarks, creating a vibrant atmosphere of unity and collective well-being. The celebration promotes cultural exchange, encourages mutual understanding, and highlights the universality of yoga’s transformative power.

Celebrating International Day of Yoga in Yelahanka Bangalore. PHOTO: Courtesy Piya Jyoti Kachroo

International Yoga Day, celebrated annually on June 21st, is a momentous occasion that unites individuals from across the globe in embracing the holistic practice of yoga. Founded by the United Nations in 2015, this day aims to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fostering harmony and inner peace in our fast-paced world. With millions of people participating in various yoga activities, International Yoga Day has become a global platform for celebrating the profound benefits of this ancient discipline.

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing on ITV Gold Yogi Dr. Devraj, a spiritual yoga teacher, author, and a speaker in our “Face to Face” segment. He talked about the yoga certification program under the ministry of AYUSH, government of India. He put Yoga’s purpose to be Health, Happiness and Global peace, as well as its influence to be universal without any exclusions. He stressed the role of International Yoga Day as it is a remarkable occasion that highlights the profound impact of yoga on individuals and communities worldwide. By embracing this ancient practice, we can nurture our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fostering a more balanced and harmonious existence. As we celebrate this day, let us come together as a global community, supporting each other on our respective yoga journeys, and embracing the timeless wisdom that yoga offers for the betterment of humanity.

The practice of yoga has a rich history that spans thousands of years. Once upon a time, in the mystical land of ancient India, there lived a wise and revered sage named Patanjali. He possessed profound knowledge of the human mind, body and spirit. Deeply concerned about the suffering and turmoil in the world, Patanjali sought to find a way to alleviate the human condition and bring about inner peace and harmony.

After years of meditation, introspection, and study, Patanjali compiled his teachings into a sacred text known as the Yoga Sutras. This remarkable text served as a guide to understanding the principles and practices of yoga. It became a beacon of wisdom, offering a path to self-realization and liberation.

Centuries passed, and the knowledge contained within the Yoga Sutras spread far and wide, reaching seekers of truth in various parts of the world. People from different cultures and backgrounds recognized the transformative power of yoga and embraced its teachings. Here is a brief overview of the past, present, and future of yoga:

Yoga continued to evolve over the centuries, with different schools and traditions emerging. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, yoga began to gain popularity in the West, with pioneers like Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa  Yogananda  introducing it to Western audiences.

Practicing Yoga asanas. PHOTO: courtesy Piya Jyoti Kachroo

Today, yoga is a widely practiced form of exercise and mindfulness that has gained mainstream acceptance. Yoga has also evolved to meet the changing needs and preferences of modern practitioners. There are now many different styles and approaches to yoga, from vigorous vinyasa flow to gentle restorative yoga.

Yoga has also become increasingly accessible, with online classes and apps making it easier for people to practice from the comfort of their own homes.

The future of yoga is likely to continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of society. As more people seek ways to manage stress and improve their health and well-being, yoga is likely to become even more popular.

There is also growing interest in the science of yoga, with research exploring the physiological and psychological effects of yoga on the body and mind. This research is likely to lead to new insights and innovations in the field of yoga therapy.

The past, present, and future of yoga show that it is a timeless practice that continues to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of each generation. Yoga is a unique practice that offers a wide range of benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Here are some of the unique aspects of doing yoga:

  1. Holistic approach: Yoga is a holistic practice that addresses the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of health. It combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness to promote overall well-being.
  2. Individualized practice: Yoga is a highly individualized practice that can be tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of each practitioner. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to yoga, and it can be adapted to accommodate different levels of fitness, mobility, and health conditions.
  3. Mind-body connection: Yoga emphasizes the connection between the mind and body, and how they influence each other. By focusing on the breath and body sensations, yoga can help practitioners cultivate greater awareness and control over their thoughts and emotions.
  4. Non-competitive: Yoga is a non-competitive practice that encourages practitioners to focus on their own journey rather than comparing themselves to others. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and promote self-acceptance and self-love.
  5. Ancient wisdom: Yoga is an ancient practice that has been passed down through generations and has stood the test of time. It offers a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that can help practitioners navigate the challenges of modern life and find greater meaning and purpose.

In conclusion, yoga is a unique practice that offers a holistic approach to health and well-being. It emphasizes the mind-body connection, encourages individualized practice, and offers ancient wisdom that can help practitioners lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Yoga has become increasingly popular around the world, and there are now millions of people who practice yoga regularly. Here are some global statistics on yoga – According to a study by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, there are over 300 million yoga practitioners worldwide. The United States has the highest number of yoga practitioners, with over 36 million people practicing yoga regularly. India, where yoga originated, has a large number of practitioners as well, with an estimated 20 million yoga practitioners. Other countries with a significant number of yoga practitioners include China, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The global yoga market is estimated to be worth over $80 billion, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 9.6% from 2020 to 2025.

In conclusion, yoga has become a global phenomenon, with millions of people practicing yoga regularly around the world. Its popularity and growing scientific evidence suggest that it will continue to be a valuable tool for promoting health and well-being in the years to come.

International Yoga Day serves as a catalyst for positive change, inspiring individuals to incorporate yoga into their daily routines and make healthier lifestyle choices. It fosters a sense of mindfulness, self-care, and holistic well-being that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. In conclusion, International Yoga Day celebrates the ancient practice of yoga and its positive impact on individuals and societies worldwide. It serves as a reminder to prioritize self-care, mindfulness, and holistic well-being in our fast-paced modern lives. By embracing yoga’s teachings and incorporating its practices, we can cultivate balance, peace, and harmony within ourselves and contribute to a more compassionate and healthier world.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and fun “International Yoga Day”



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