What is Yoga?
Yoga is essentially an ancient spiritual discipline originating in India and based on an extremely subtle science that aims at the harmony of mind and body. It is an art and a science for healthy living. The word yoga has its roots in the Sanskrit language, yuj meaning “to unite”.
What is The International Day of Yoga?
International Yoga Day is a global observance, celebrated on 21 June, declared by the United Nations at the initiative of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Since its official declaration, celebrations of significant magnitude have been held around the world.
Brief history and development of yoga
The science of Yoga is millennia old, appearing long before the first religion or belief. According to the yogic tradition, Shiva has been seen as the first Yogi orAdiyogi and the firstGuru orAdiguru.
Thousands of years ago, at Lake Kantisarovar in the Himalayas, Adiyogi brought his profound knowledge in the legendary Saptarishis or “seven sages”. These sages carried their powerful yogic science to different parts of the world including Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South America.
Interestingly, current scholars have noted and marvelled at the close parallels found between ancient cultures around the world. However, it was in India that the yogic system found its full expression.
Agastya, the Saptarishi who travelled through India, created this culture around a core Yogic way of life.
Yoga is widely regarded as the “immortal result of the culture” of the Indus Sarawati Valley civilisation – 2700 BC – and has proven that it offers both material and spiritual sustenance to the human being.
A number of seals and fossil remnants of the Indus Saraswati Valley civilisation with yogic motifs and figures practising Yoga sādhana, suggest the presence of Yoga in ancient India. The seals and idols of the Mother Goddesses suggest Tantra Yoga.
The existence of Yoga is also found in folk traditions, the Vedic Upanishadic heritage, Buddhist and Jain traditions, Darshanas, Mahabarata epics including Bhagawadgita and Ramayana, theistic traditions of Shaivas, Vaishnavas and Tantric traditions.
Although Yoga was already practised in the pre-Vedic period, the great sage Maharishi Patanjali systematised and codified the already existing Yogic practices, their meaning and teaching through the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
After Patanjali, several sages and yoga masters collaborated extensively for the preservation and development of this cause through well-documented practices and literature.
Yoga has spread to all parts of the world, thanks to the teachings of great masters from ancient times to the present day.
Today, the whole world is convinced of the practice of Yoga for the prevention of disease and to maintain and improve health. Millions and millions of people around the world have benefited from this practice and thus this discipline is growing day by day in all parts of the world and becoming more and more vibrant.