The summer solstice usually takes place on the 21 June each year, and since 2014 it has also been recognised as International Yoga Day around the world. The Indian Prime Minister announced the importance of the precious 5,000-year-old practice, derived from India’s ancient tradition, to the United Nations General Assembly. In this speech, he suggested that 21 June would be the ideal day to celebrate yoga, being the longest day of the year. Furthermore, he stated how yoga is a gift to discover yourself rather than a form of exercise, and that it is a holistic approach to health through embracing nature and the world while unearthing oneness with yourself. In summary, the importance of thinking positively rather than achieving fancy positions should be noted because today yoga can be about who is the best, when that is far from what it actually set out to be.
So, I took the time to celebrate my first International Yoga Day in my regular class that I attend every Wednesday evening in the park, as it began to grow dusk. Our teacher enlightened us about connecting to everyone (as yoga primarily means ‘unity’) through the flow of energy we can exhibit in meditation. Therefore, we started with a meditation to open ourselves up to the world through mind, body and spirit. This pleasantly led us to practise yoga with the contemplation of everybody around the world sharing this fulfilling experience, creating the sense of harmony and peace for humanity.
As the day drew to an end, I felt revived, refreshed and relaxed through opening myself up to challenging positions, breathing deeply and most of all embracing every moment. Now that the UN has acknowledged the importance of International Yoga Day, let’s hope that over the coming years the benefit of yoga will be recognised throughout the world, including the realisation that anybody and everybody is able to achieve good health through yoga! Namaste.