Today is a day to celebrate an ancient discipline that has gained unprecedented, international popularity over the past few decades. All over the world, yogis are celebrating International Yoga Day, recognizing and benefiting from the holistic benefits of the timeless practice and its core values of strengthening and stretching your body to heal it from the inside out.
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF AN ANCIENT HISTORY
The practice of yoga has been a sacred ritual in India since approximately 5,000 BCE. The word “yoga” is a Sanskrit term that has many meanings, though many believe its closest meaning can be derived from the Sanskrit root yuj - "to yoke or harness." While it is unclear when the notion or practice of yoga first appeared, the word yoga was found in ancient India’s earliest known scripts — the Vedas, the oldest written book in the world, a period in history that dates back to 1,500 BCE.
KNOWN HEALTH BENEFITS
There is no doubting the many health benefits to this ancient form of physical and mental exercise. The postures of the many different forms of practice are designed to strengthen various muscles, especially the back and core, stretch and lengthen the muscles, and believe it or not, are massage vital organs while in pose. Yoga is also linked with reducing back pain, lowering blood pressure, detoxifying organs, and reducing stress. Breathing practices can help calm the body and mind, and can be employed just about any time or place to help in a moment of tension.
UNITING IN PEACE AND YOGA
In December of 2014, the United Nations General Assembly named June 21st International Yoga Day. This annual day of celebration aims to incorporate yoga and meditation into humanity all over the world. Thousands of people across India are celebrating International Yoga Day, with 50,000 participants expected to join in an outdoor session with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.