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Sainy Banerjee Pal
21 Jun 2018 . 1 min read

International Yoga Day: What Are You Doing Today?


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So it is international yoga day and what are we doing to celebrate it?

I am sure, many of us have attended seminars on yoga, some might have enrolled in yoga classes, some also might have themselves given a session on yoga so on and so forth.

With more than 100 yoga schools in the world, Yoga has conquered the world in true sense.

Nevertheless, I believe, International Yoga Day, which is being celebrated all around the globe with a lot of enthusiasm, should be celebrated like a festival in India, as it was originated by our ancestors and on our motherland.

I need not sing rhapsodies of the multiple benefits of Yoga, as we all are well aware of it. However, we should all remember the fact that Yoga typically connects the mind, body, and soul, which is not achieved so effectively by any other form.

Yoga at first place is not just an exercise, it is a form of healing.

Yoga is not just about breathing in and out, few joint, muscle or stretching exercises or getting yourself fancy yoga mats and exercising!

It is a unique amalgamation of three things:

  • Different postures
  • Breathing patterns
  • Meditation.

So on this 4th International  Yoga Day, let us take delight and gratification towards our rich heritage and learn few unknown facts about the “YOGA”

What You Don’t Know About Yoga

Yes, there are numerous facts and stats that we might not know about yoga, even if we do it everyday.

  • Did you know there are 196 Yoga Sutras?
  • Additionally, there are 84 classic Yoga Asanas.

There is a thing called Dog Yoga?

Hard to believe that Yoga can be done with your pet dog, right?

Well, it all started in New York in 2002.  In this type of yoga, people establish harmony with their pet dogs. Here, the owners use their pets either as props or do light stretching exercises themselves.

Along with classical yoga, there is something called as Power Yoga

It is a fitness-based vinyasa practice. It is basically an offshoot of Ashtanga Yoga. It has many of the same qualities and benefits, including building internal heat, increased stamina, strength, and flexibility, as well as stress reduction.

You can do Yoga even at your office seat!

There some yoga instructors who when invited can come to your office and teach you few minutes of yoga, by sitting on your seat itself! Yoga at any point in the day can relax both your body and your mind. It releases tension that accumulates in the muscles, and pacify your overworked brain only to make you even more refreshed and productive.

Who all promoted yoga?

Today when we ask any youngster about this, many come up with random answers. But let us learn some of the names of the leaders and preachers in this field of study.

  • None other than Swami Vivekananda, the greatest proponent of Yoga in the West, is credited for the same.
  • Hindu mythology speaks volumes about Lord Shiva being the Supreme Lord of Yoga.
  • Ever wondered beyond the brand name “Patanjali”? Or do you know anything about the “Patanjali Yoga Sutra”?
  • Well, Maharishi Patanjali was a saint, who is known for his treatise on Yoga.  He is believed to have lived sometime during the 2nd century BCE.
  • Who taught Kriya Yoga to millions around the world?

The answer is Paramahansa Yogananda. He was an Indian yogi, born to a Bengali Family. His famous organization Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and Self-Realization Fellowship is well renowned. His book, Autobiography of a Yogi is a spiritual masterpiece and was one amongst in the 100 best spiritual books of the 20th century.

  • B K S Iyengar is the name of the founder of the style of yoga known as "Iyengar Yoga" and was considered to be the foremost of the modern yoga teachers in the world. Due to his remarkable contribution to this holistic study,  Iyengar was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
  • An 85-year-old Yoga instructor, Bette Calman from Australia as the world’s oldest yoga teacher. He is also credited in The Guinness Book of World Records currently.

How it all started?

  • Scholars believed yoga incorporated elements from the Stone Age, although there aren't many pieces of evidence for this.
  • However, it is strongly believed and claimed that the beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. Moreover, there are pictures from the Indus Valley civilizations that depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose.
  • The first known appearance of the word “yoga”, was found around fourth to third century BCE in the Katha Upanishad. Some teachers also claim that it was found in the ancient scripts of Rig Veda.
  • Ancient yogis believed that one has a limited number of breaths in each of his life. Hence, in order to stretch one's life out a bit longer, they came up with the technique of taking slow and deep breaths. Maybe this is how the Yoga actually came into practice!

What happens to your body after you practice Yoga?

We all have been reading, discussing and learning about the plus points of doing Yoga. But read the following facts to dive in deeper into the ocean of Yog knowledge.

  • Yoga channelizes the energies across your body. They are done by Nadis or ‘energy channels’ that run through the body, carrying that ‘prana’ or ‘life force’ with them.
  • There are 72,000 Nadis. There are more like a little like esoteric veins, carrying energy throughout us. The largest of them is the Sushumna, which resides along the spine and provides the channel through which we’re encouraged to send this energy in order to reach enlightenment.
  • We are often encouraged to utter the word “AUM”. This is because the practice of chanting is an important aspect of yoga, and nada yoga (the yoga of sound) can be made even more powerful and effective.
  • As well all know, the word ‘Om’ consists of three syllables; A-U-M. This is considered to represent the primordial ‘sound of the universe’. Also, it is the source from which all other sound originates.
  • The syllables emphasize the past, present and the future, and therefore,  ‘Om’ is chanted to evoke a supreme connection to the energy of ‘bigger picture’ and universe around us.
  • Ever heard about the chakras? Yes, I am talking about the eight energy centers or “chakras” in the body. Chakras are through which humans absorb cosmic energy.
  • Once you start doing  Yoga, it can purify these and keep the positive life energy flowing. These chakras are named as,  Mooladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna, Bindu, and Sahasrara, from the base of the spine up to the crown, respectively.
  • Believe it or not, you become intelligent after you do Yoga! In one study, After 20 minutes of yoga, people scored higher on cognitive tests.
  • Along with the countless benefits of Yoga, your intense focus helps your noggin's amygdala i.e your emotional network, making it work in its best. Which is nothing but you have more control over feelings such as anger and fear? At the same time, the happy brain chemicals like GABA may significantly rise. So now you know what to do when your gloomy moods kick in.

This yoga day, I am not only doing yoga asanas (that I do every day) but I am also gaining some knowledge about it. What are you doing on this yoga day?


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Sainy Banerjee Pal
An engineer by profession but an ardent writer by heart, Sainy has been writing from the age of 12. She has a huge collection of her handwritten diaries. Her friends call her a therapist for broken hearts and can connect instantly with anyone. She lives with her doting husband who is also her critic for her write ups. Imaginative, spirited and filled with compassion, she always has a lot to say, to those who care to listen.

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