May 19, 2021
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International Day of Yoga | Reason to Celebrate it | Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts. International Day of Yoga is also known as world Yoga day which is celebrated every year on 21st June to make people aware about the benefits of yoga. It aims to raise awareness of the many benefits of practicing yoga worldwide. It is believed that yoga has been practiced in India since more than 5000 years. It was on 11th of December 2014 that the United Nation General Assembly declared 21st of June every year as World Yoga Day or International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.

The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member. The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said: – “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfilment, harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well- being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us to deal with climate change. Let us work towards the adoption of an International Yoga Day.”

The resolution notes “the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health”. In this regard, the World Health Organisation has also urged its member of states to help their citizens to reduce physical inactivity, which is among the top ten leading causes of death worldwide and a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

Yoga is More than a Physical Activity

In the words of one of its most famous Indian author, and spiritual master Amit Ray-

“Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements

Once you understand the grammar of yoga, you can write your poetry of movements”.

What is Yoga and Why do we Celebrate it?

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. A combination of physical, mental and spiritual practice, yoga has been attributed mostly to India. The asanas, or poses, that yoga includes aim at attaining overall body strength and keeping it healthy and sound. On the other hand, the mental techniques include breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation (Dhyana) is to discipline the mind. Yoga preaches “A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body” and we couldn’t agree more. This Yoga Day let us look at what’s the best way to keep fit through yoga along with the diet in order to lose weight. If you practice yoga regularly, you’d know that you need more body strength than anything in order to get your asanas right. To ensure you build a good stamina teamed with body strength, then you must allow proteins into your diet. Generally speaking, one should eat a meal that comprises good fats, proteins and carbohydrates. On the whole, Yoga is not just about testing one’s flexibility or endurance; it is also about attaining a peaceful state of mind. This inner-most peace can rarely be attained by a method easier than that of yoga.

Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.

2020 Theme: Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family

COVID-19 pandemic has shut down yoga studios and other communal spaces, yoga practitioners have turned to home practice and online yoga resources. Yoga is a powerful tool to deal with the stress of uncertainty and isolation, as well as to maintain physical well-being. The United Nations offer yoga resources to its personnel and others on the Corona virus portal’s section for Wellness. The World Health Organisation mentions yoga as a means to improve health in its Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: more active people for a healthier world.

The sixth edition of the International Yoga Day will focus on yoga at home with family members. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the run up to the yoga day, launched an event -“My Life My Yoga” – in his “Mann Ki Baat”. He encouraged people to stay active and fit during the corona virus lock down.

The theme for this year 2020 International Yoga Day on June 21, is “Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family”. Due to the corona virus pandemic, International Yoga Day will be observed at home. Due to the contagious nature of COVID-19, no mass gathering would be advisable this year. Hence, this year the ministry is encouraging people to practice yoga at their homes, with participation from the entire family," the AYUSH Ministry said in a statement. Launching a video blogging competition, PM Modi invited citizens to participate in it and post their videos. “My Life, My Yoga” contest is a joint effort by the Ministry of AYUSH and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

2020 virtual event The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations is to invite an online celebration of the 6th annual International Yoga Day on 21th June 2020, from 3 to 4:30 pm EST to be broadcast live on UN WebTV. With schools closed and summer break activities cancelled, parents may find it challenging to keep their children physically active. Yoga can help. UNICEF says kids can practice many yoga poses without any risk and get the same benefits that adults do. These benefits include increased flexibility and fitness, mindfulness and relaxation.

Most people don’t really like stuffing themselves with during yoga, as it can turn out to be rather uncomfortable trying to move through asanas after a meal, especially the ones that involve twists, backward bends and inversions. One should ideally eat a meal at least two to three hours before yoga practice, or you can have a small snack an hour before to give your body some time to digest. This International Yoga Day, let’s look at what’s the best you can eat before and after your yoga session to make it more effective and sustainable.

What to Eat Before Yoga Session?

Those who are looking to practice yoga in the morning, it is better to eat bananas and other fruits like berries, at least 45 minutes prior to your session. Start your day with protein-rich foods like yogurt and dried fruits, oatmeal, fruit smoothies, homemade protein bars and protein shakes to kick-start your morning filled with energy. For those looking at practicing yoga in the evening can have light snacks an hour before beginning to exercise. You can add a bowlful of steamed vegetables, salads, or even nuts and seeds in your diet to ensure you are energized well enough to exercise.

What to Eat After Yoga Session?

You should drink water 30 minutes after you have exercised. The idea is to regain the electrolytes that you may have lost during yoga, which can cause cramps in the body. Eat a super nutritious meal after your yoga session. Indulge in a bowlful of fresh seasonal fruits or vegetable salads. You can also have a light sandwich, yogurt with nuts and seeds and cereals.

What You Shouldn’t Eat Before and After Yoga?

Don’t eat a heavy meal or dishes that are rich in oil, spices and fried items prior to yoga class. You shouldn’t have food that is rich in fat content that substantially slows down your digestion. Whether you are practicing yoga in the morning or evening, ensure that you are well-hydrated, even if it means drinking water, coconut water or lemon water. Your ability to move and maintain focus is compromised with even mild dehydration.

Yoga is nothing but the practice of sprouting balance within oneself. And so, yoga finds itself more important than every today. For today, our lifestyle has been corrupted by stress, improper schedules and what not today, more than ever. We need to find a way to get rid of all the ills of modern lifestyles limited but regular practice is definitely recommended for yoga. It focuses to reduce the rate of health challenging diseases all over the world. Yoga is a path to discipline your mind.

Hope on this day, every one of you could spare some time and join this path of meditation to have good physical and mental health.

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self – The Bhagavat Gita