Yoga is an ancient practice and spiritual discipline focusing on assimilating the mind, body, and nature to establish an organic harmony between all forces. The word Yoga comes from Sanskrit which means to unite, and hence yoga is not just physical exercise but a means to achieve a balance between thoughts and actions and channelizing the body and energy as a holistic approach to well being
Yoga has had various lineages, traditions and driving philosophies that have led to the emergence of different traditional schools of Yoga. each with its own set of principles, objectives, and practices.
The International Day of Yoga is celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in the United Nations General Assembly (adopted in 2015 with the suggestion of Indian Prime Minister).
About the International Day of Yoga Logo
Folding of both hands in the logo symbolize Yoga, the union, which reflects the union of individual consciousness with that of universal consciousness, a perfect harmony between mind & body, man & nature; the holistic approach to health & well being. The brown leave symbolizes the Earth element, the green leave symbolize the nature, blue symbolize the water element, brightness symbolizes the fire element and the Sun symbolize the source of energy and inspiration. The logo reflects harmony and peace for humanity, which is the essence of Yoga.
International Day of Yoga-2019
The fifth annual International Day of Yoga was celebrated at the United Nations with the theme “Yoga with Gurus,” followed by a panel discussion on 21 June
Various schools of Yoga
- Jnana Yoga
- Bhakti Yoga
- Karma Yoga
- Laya Yoga
- Raja Yoga
- Buddh Yoga and
- Jaina Yoga
The fundamentals of Yoga
The Yoga works on the level of one’s body, mind, emotion, and energy. This has given rise to four broad classifications of Yoga they are;
- Karma Yoga (where we utilize the body)
- Jnana Yoga (where we utilize the mind and intellect)
- Bhakti Yoga (where we utilize the emotion) and
- Kriya Yoga (where we utilize the energy).
Each system of Yoga one practice falls within the gamut of one or more of these categories. All ancient commentaries on Yoga have stressed that it is essential to work under the direction of a guru
Promotion of Yoga
Following are the initiatives taken for the promotion of Yoga;
- UNESCO inscribed Yoga in the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the 11th session of the held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the year 2016.
- Inclusion of Yoga in National Health Policy 2017: in order to leverage a proper healthcare legacy, the National Health Policy recommended the introduction of Yoga in school and at workplaces as part of the promotion of good health
- Yoga in School Curriculum: Yoga Education was made compulsory by the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE).
- Yoga Certification Board: it is established by the Ministry of AYUSH.
- UGC has established Yoga Departments in Six Central Universities and framed Standard Yoga Syllabi for various courses.
- Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) under auspices of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) also deputes Yoga teachers to Indian Missions for imparting training to local students and teachers.
- The ICCR signed and MoU with Yunnan Minzu University, China for the establishment of Yoga College named “India-China College of Yoga”.
- Yoga Olympiad: NCERT has taken the initiative of “YOGA OLYMPIAD” for School Children.
- Yoga training to CAPF personnel: Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY), Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India has introduced Yoga training to Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
- PM Awards on IDY: Four awards, Two National and Two International, have been announced in the field of Yoga.
- National AYUSH Mission: It inter-alia makes provision for the following
- Upgradation of exclusive State Government AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries including Yoga.
- Setting up to up to 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospital including Yoga.
- Under the flexible components of the scheme of NAM, Provision has been made for Grant-in-aid to the Yoga Wellness centers
Positive mental health
- The practice of Yoga has been reported to help depressive symptoms for a long time. It lifts the mood and also improves interest in activities, attention/concentration/memory, sleep, and appetite.
- Patanjali in his Yoga sutras says” Yogah Chitta vritti nirodhah” which means the primary aim of the Yoga is the removal of fluctuations of the mind.
- It has been found to have an effect on the cognitive/behavioral aspects due to its mindfulness component.
- Yoga has been shown to help improve symptoms in several physical disorder, like diabetes, hypertension, asthma and also in mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
- Yoga has been used as a sole treatment for patients with mild to moderate depression in several recent studies in India and abroad.
- In patients with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, yoga practices have been shown to improve socialization, motivation to do activities, occupational functioning, ability to recognize others emotions/feelings and cognitive abilities. This is probably brought about by the increase in the ‘cuddle hormone’, namely oxytocin, by yoga.
- Yoga holds promise as a complementary therapy in cases of tobacco, alcohol and opioid dependence.
- The systematic methods of concentration taught in yoga practice have been thought to potentially help reduce attention deficits.
Ashtanga Yoga as outlined by Patanjali consists of eight limbs. These are as follows;
- Yama(universal ethics)
- Niyama(individual ethics)
- asana (physical poses)
- Pranayama (breath control)
- Pratyahara (control of the senses)
- Dharana (steadiness of mind)
- Dhyana (meditation)
As per this model, Yoga, if practiced in the sequence as mentioned above, leads to the bliss which is the ultimate state.
Concept of Disease as per Yoga/Anatomy of Yoga
The Taittriya Upanishad described the five sheats (Pancha-Kosas) or layers of existence in the body from gross to a fine level. This is also called as Anatomy of Yoga, it includes;
- Annamaya Kosha, “food” sheath(Anna)
- Pranamaya Kosha, “energy” sheath(Prana)
- Manomaya Kosha, “mind” sheath(manas)
- Vijnanamaya Kosha, “discernment” sheath(Ananda)
As per the yogic understanding, diseases are caused by stress, wrong diet, wrong exercise, and bad habits.