The sixth edition of International Yoga Day is all set to commence on 21st June 2020 and this year, will focus on yoga at home with your family members. In a recent set of developments, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi released a video message appealing people to stay at home and follow this year’s theme ‘Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family.’
The Ministry of AYUSH has also launched a theme-based campaign keeping in mind the novel coronavirus, lockdown restrictions, and the imposed preventive measures which prohibit the movement of people. “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 made a statement.
Along with mentioning the various health benefits of yoga, he said “Yoga gives the opportunity to know our immune system better and put in the extra efforts that are needed. Yoga has the potential to cater to mental, physical and psychological challenges.”
Given the current global situation and the contagious nature of the Covid-19 pandemic which requires strict norms of social distancing and prohibition of any kind of social gathering; he urged people to practice yoga at home with participation from the entire family. He further added, “These are times of physical distancing, but yoga ends various distances. It ends distance between our mind and body, distance between the life we have and want to have, distance between our expectations and reality, which can become a source of stress.” This year The International Yoga Day will be highlighting the health-building and stress-relieving aspect of yoga.
Which Events Will Take Place Under ‘Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family’ Campaign?
This year we are all set to launch the sixth edition of International Yoga Day 2020 and unlike previous years, there will be no mass gatherings. Modi stated, “We are marking the sixth yoga day in extraordinary times. Usually, yoga day is about public events, mass participation.
This year, yoga day goes indoors,” He is going to address the nation on 21st June on this occasion wherein a live telecast will be held on all DD channels, al RLSS channels and all regional Kendras and the digital media platforms at 6:30 am. He is expected to give a speech on importance of yoga especially in times of a pandemic and perform a few yoga poses as well.
- After the remarks of Prime Minister Modi will be televised at 6:30 am, a live demonstration of 45-minute Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) will be conducted by a team from the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga.
- Like every year, The Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) will be held on the occasion of International Yoga Day. It is a 45-minute program that was initially developed by renowned yoga experts and yoga gurus and includes simple and effective exercises and asana which one can do easily at home even by beginners or the common people who have no previous expertise in yoga. It will take place so that people all over the country can perform yoga in solidarity.
- Prime Minister Modi also launched a video blogging competition ‘My Life, My Yoga’ and invited all the citizens to participate and share short videos of them performing Yogasnas in this joint collaboration of AYUSH ministry and Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The contest which is live on the social media handles of Ministry of AYUSH has the main aim to show how yoga impacts the daily lives of people and how it transforms them as a person. Various celebrities and fitness enthusiasts including Milind Soman, Shilpa Shetty and Akshay Kumar along with the Indian public is seen to be participating in it with full force.
- Indian Council for Cultural Relations is launching ‘Spirit of Yoga’ which will be a celebration of yoga through music on June 21. It will be based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which is considered to be the philosophy of the tradition of Yoga. ‘Spirit of Yoga’ will have a worldwide launch through ICCR via all the Indian missions. The video was created during the lockdown keeping in mind all the restrictions and no face to face interaction. Its main aim is to make the sutras easy to sing or hum through simple, lifting, and rhythmic tunes. The sutras have been made by the renowned singer, Hariharan and he will be accompanied by Dr. Varsha Narayanan of Mumbai.
What Are The Origins Of International Yoga Day?
Yoga is defined as a group of physical, mental, or spiritual practices including physical exercise, breath control, meditation, breathing techniques, and relaxation aimed towards creating a harmonious connection between mind, body, and the environment.
The word ‘yoga’ has a Sanskritic origin and means ‘to join’ or ‘unite’ symbolizing the union of our bodies and the inner consciousness. The primary aim of yoga was to create a link between our subconscious mind and the deeper universe and attain greater control over the working of our minds.
It has a 5000-year-old history in ancient Indian philosophy and is one of the six Astika School of Hindu philosophical tradition. There is no written record about the inventor of yoga but it is said that the primary purpose of yoga was not about physical health but creating a spiritual connection between the mind and body.
In the more recent times yoga has been evolved with the main focus on various aspects like- strength building, health, fitness, fat burning, power yoga etc. While there are many forms of yoga; no form is superior or inferior to one another. Now yoga has a global outreach where people all around the world are practicing it so as to promote well-being and focusing more on the physical practice.
The proposal to celebrate International Yoga Day was first put forth by Prime Minister during his speech at United Nations General Assembly on 27 September,2014.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well-being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”– PM Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly
Following his proposal, there was a round of consultations on the draft resolution titled “International Day of Yoga”, on 14 October 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also gave an explanation of why he chose the date 21 for the celebration of yoga day. It is solely on the account that this date is the longest day of the year and marks the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere along with holding special significance in different parts of the world.
The first-ever yoga day was observed on 21st June 2015 and has been celebrated ever since. For the first edition the Ministry of AYUSH made the required arrangements and 35,985 people including Narendra Modi, dignitaries from 84 countries performed 21 yoga postures for 31 minutes at Rajghat in New Delhi. It ended up creating two records- one for the largest yoga class conducted and second for the highest number of nationalities to have ever participated. Similar events have been held since then in different cities of India and around the world.
7 Health Benefits Of Yoga Especially During Lockdown
Given the ever-increasing global popularity of yoga as a ‘way of life’ when thousands of fitness enthusiasts, celebrities, Youtubers and even a large mass of general public is all preaching about the wonders of yoga and how it can transform you as a person; you must have been asking questions like “What does yoga actually do?”, “How will it help me?”, “Do I really need to give it a try or should I just pass it?”
Taking this common framework of questions into consideration I am enlisting 7 health benefits of yoga that helps in improving not only your physical but mental health too. And the best part is, they are backed by science.
RELIEVES STRESS AND ANXIETY
In this period of lockdown when the majority of people are stuck at home with no physical communication with their families, friends, relatives, etc. which is one of the primary needs of life; stress and anxiety levels are bound to peak.
Practicing yoga even for a few minutes is proven to be beneficial by releasing your tensions, lowering your blood sugar level, and by giving you a peace of mind. One study proved that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and increased serotonin levels and decreased the levels of an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters. It took into account 24 women who considered themselves as emotionally distressed and after three months of a yoga program, they had shown significantly low levels of stress, fatigue, and depression.
Feeling down? Do yoga and uplift your spirits.
PROMOTES BETTER SLEEP
One of the many benefits of Yoga is that it promotes a deeper and a peaceful sleep. In this everyday hustle of life many people find themselves falling into the trap of various sleeping disorders like insomnia and yoga is shown to provide you that sense of relief after a long tiring day.
There are tons of guided meditations and yoga specifically made for practicing before going to bed and most of the people are actually benefited from it.
BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNITY
Practicing yoga builds your muscles, gives you strength, improves your flexibility and in short, improves your system internally. Asana and other yoga postures surely do help in building that immune system but meditation has proved to be scientifically the most beneficial in this area. Those rapid breathing exercises cleanses your whole body and keep viruses and diseases at bay.
EASES YOUR PAIN
According to several studies conducted over the years, yoga has shown to ease your pain if performed with proper instructions. Sciatica, slip discs, arthritis, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, migraine, sinus, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic conditions are some of the few things which many people have healed with the help of yoga. It improves your bone health, protects your spine and prevent joint breakdown.
INCREASES BLOOD FLOW AND IMPROVES HEART HEALTH
Yoga increases the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells which carries oxygen to the tissues in your body. Yoga gets that blood flowing with inverted poses like headstand, shoulder stand, and handstand which carries blood from your hands, feet, pelvis, etc. to the heart from where it is sent to the lungs for the oxygenation process.
One study found out that participants who were above 40 years of age and practiced yoga consistently for years had a lower blood pressure than those who didn’t. In the longer run, yoga prevents you from cardiovascular diseases by keeping your heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenal glands in check.
IT HELPS IN WEIGHT LOSS
If yoga is combined with healthy eating it can help you in toning your muscles, cutting some abdominal fat, and boosting your metabolism. Although yoga for weight loss is one very much debatable topic in the health world, we cannot deny the fact that yoga has helped many people lose weight all in a healthy manner.
Some of the yoga positions which are particularly beneficial in this field are- planks, side planks, shoulder stand, bridge pose, warrior pose, downward dog pose, and so on. There are many channels on YouTube particularly focusing on fat burning yoga. So go and check them out!
BENEFITS BEYOND THE MAT
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular as a form of therapy and for increasing the overall quality of life. Yoga is not just about external or outside physical postures. It helps you connect with your inner awareness and for many people serves as a retreat from the chaos of daily lives. It helps you focus better, develop your inner strength, gain control over your breathing pattern and brings mindfulness. It enhances your spiritual being and improve your social function.
Practicing yoga and meditation will about this heightened awareness and with time, mindfulness i.e. focusing your attention on what you are experiencing in the present moment without much worries and constant negative thoughts.
5 Yoga Poses To Strike As A Beginner
Owing to the current living conditions where there is always a rush to complete one thing after another combined with everyday stress, lack of sleep, improper diet, little or no physical exercise, etc., people tend to not care much about their health and wellbeing. This is the reason why they develop health challenges like- high or low blood pressure, weak bones, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity amongst many others at a very early age if not later.
Between this rat race, if you even take out 20-30 minutes for yourself and indulge in the habit of practicing yoga and meditation daily, you will see your life turning around completely. Yoga helps you to focus. Yoga increases your strength. Yoga boosts your metabolism and immune system. Yoga changes your energy. Yoga reduces anxiety. It builds your muscle strength and improves respiration. What more reasons do you need before you go and try it out yourselves?
From firsthand experience, I can guarantee the credibility of other mentioned things as yoga is one thing which makes you a better and more powerful version of yourself; both internally and externally. So, here I will list 5 yoga asanas that are very beginner-friendly and can be tried by you if you’re just stepping into this world. I know this yoga thing can get a little bit overwhelming especially if you’re just getting into it but the important point here is to be consistent and true to the practice.
Also, another important thing I’d like to mention here is that even though these asanas are very much suitable for beginners, you still need to be cautious while performing. If there is pain in any part of your body and it persists, stop immediately! Look for alternate ways of doing a similar position that is better suited to your condition and flexibility.
FORWARD FOLD (UTTANASANA)
- Stand straight on a mat and rest your hands on your hip. Inhale and take a deep breath.
- Now exhale and soften your knees and bend forward by folding your hips. Bring your weight to the balls of your feet and make sure your hips are aligned over your ankles.
- Hold the pose for a minute and to release, draw down through your tailbone and keep your back flat as you inhale deeply once again.
COBRA POSE (BHUJANG ASANA)
- To begin with the pose, lie flat on your stomach and place your forehead to the floor. You can either have your feet together or have them wide apart according to the width of your hips.
- Now spread your hands forward on the floor and press your palm and gently raise the upper part of your body.
- Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds and stretch your whole body focusing mostly on lower back, hamstrings, and glutes and then release while exhaling slowly.
CHILD’S POSE (BALASANA)
- As the name hints, this pose is quite similar to the movements of a child.
- Begin with kneeling on the floor, sit on your heels and try to touch your toes. You can adjust according to your needs, if you want to widen your knees, go ahead with it since it is a restorative pose.
- Bring your knees and feet together while sitting on your butt and stretch your arms forward while lowering the head simultaneously and let your entire body let go of the tension. Hold on for 15-30 seconds and then release.
BRIDGE POSE (SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA)
- This pose helps in building your spine and relaxes any tension in your lower body while increasing mobility.
- Lie down on your back and place your hip wide apart. Lace your hands together and press down the fists on the ground while simultaneously bending the knees.
- Raise your chest upwards and engage your hamstrings. Hold on for 10-15 seconds and to release, lower your hips and then exhale deeply.
CORPSE POSE (SHAVASANA)
- This is by far the easiest Asana and for obvious reasons, favorite of many. This pose also marks the ending of a yoga session and brings the body into a state of much-needed rest.
- To perform this pose, lie down flat on your back with hands on either side of the body. Focus on the pattern of your breath and try to control it. It is typically practiced for 5-10 minutes at the end but can sometimes also be extended to 20-30 minutes accordingly.
- This asana is a great way to relax any tension buildup, calming the mind and lowering the stress levels. It leaves your body fresh and rejuvenated by bringing in tranquility.
Lastly, all you need to do is just get into this habit and there is no better opportunity than the sixth edition of International Yoga Day 2020 which will take place on 21st June 2020 i.e. this Sunday. Take out your mats, dive right into it, and witness all the physical and spiritual benefits it has to offer, all by yourself.
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