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International Yoga Day 2021 – "Yoga for Well-being"

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Highlights:
  • International Yoga Day is commemorated on June 21 every year to declare the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of yoga
  • The 2021 theme for the 7th International Yoga Day is "Yoga for well-being", inferring much significance to the existing status of the COVID-19 pandemic and its difficulty on both the physical and mental life of people
  • Yoga is recognized as a valuable exercise and relaxation technique for the well-being of the body and to attain enlightenment

International Yoga Day, also known as World Yoga Day is commemorated on June 21 every year to appreciate the perks of physical, mental, and spiritual health that yoga has brought to the world for a better life.

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Apart from this, yoga, including breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation exercises, holds a greater advantage in managing generalized anxiety disorder, as compared to standard education on stress management, reports a study.

International Yoga Day 2021: The Theme in Pandemic!

The 2021 theme for the International Yoga Day is "Yoga for well-being". This infers much significance to the current situation of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic and its burden on the physical and mental life of people.

"A growing trend of people around the world embracing Yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression has been witnessed during the pandemic. Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of Covid-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. It is particularly helpful in allaying their fears and anxiety," says the United Nations in a statement.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) also promotes yoga to enhance health conditions with its benefits like increased flexibility, fitness, mindfulness, and relaxation.

What is Yoga?

The word 'yoga' is derived from Sanskrit which means 'to join'/to unite'. It is a way to interconnect the body, mind, and soul in its actual way, prospering over the years.

Yoga is an ancient custom with its origination since 5,000 years in India. The earliest records for the existence of yoga are confirmed to be around 200 BCE. The old scholars and the sages of the Vedic times have documented their traditional yoga practices in the ancient Indian scriptures like the Rig Veda (the earliest amongst the Vedas), and Upanishads (extremely valuable core teachings of Indian philosophy).

Yoga aligns the inner chakra and is recognized as the way one step closer to enlightenment. It was recognized as an exercise and relaxation method for the general well-being of the body with the spread and popularisation in the west.

Timeline of International Yoga Day

The United Nations General Assembly first announced to honor International Day of Yoga on 21st June every year by resolution 69/131 adopted under the Global Health and Foreign Policy on 11 December 2014.

The call was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 27 September 2014, in which yoga was addressed as an "invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition" and recognized as the "harmony between man and nature".

Following the initiative, as many as 177 nations (the highest number of co-sponsors for any UNGA Resolution) backed up the idea. The declaration of the International Yoga Day within 90 days of the proposal brought a glorious and dignified moment to Indian history.

The rationale behind selecting 21st June as the date to celebrate International Yoga Day was because the day signifies the summer solstice - the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, which holds extraordinary significance in many parts of the world.

On the occasion of the first-ever International Yoga Day on June 21, 2015, nearly 36,000 people, including Prime Minister Modi, and many other political figures from all around the world performed 21 asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes in New Delhi. Since then, the day designates a global ceremony every year.

The most extensive yoga lesson that took place in India, with over 100,000 participants was on June 21, 2018, and the international observance anticipates many more to join in the upcoming years.

"Yoga for well-being" - 2021 Events

Yoga is not a religion but something above everything - caste, class, status, color, gender, and region. It is an ancient practice that embraces multiple disciplines of life to gain a peaceful body and mind. People from various places gather to practice yoga under the guidance of trained yoga teachers on this day. Apart from this, several events are hosted all over the world to expand the awareness of yoga.

Yoga sessions are usually organized in various schools and colleges along with many practice sessions. People are urged to adopt this healthy lifestyle by implementing Yoga Awards (as seen in 2019), conducting a special sale of yoga essentials like mats, tees, in public centers.

Design Your Jingle

On the occasion of the 7th International Yoga Day amidst the pandemic situation, the Ministry of AYUSH (MoA) invites the public to a large-scale online competition. People are deemed to write and compose an apt, appropriate, and appealing "Jingle" (a short catchy script/verse) of 25-30 seconds for the upcoming International Day of Yoga, 2021. The winner would receive INR 25,000 cash prize.

The Jingle is expected to drive awareness and adoption of Yoga by people of all ages for the wellbeing of the community. It ought to match the official Indian language as mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian constitution along with English and other UN languages.

The high-quality audio file of the participants is to be uploaded to any media platform such as SoundCloud, YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. and the script is to be submitted in the form of a pdf document (last date of submission: 21st June 2021).

Get the Most out of Yoga!

Yoga can be practiced by people from all turns of life and is emerging as the most entrusted way to relax the mind & body, foster holistic well-being, and stay happy & healthy together! Some of the types of yoga and its benefits are the following:
  • Ushtra Asana or Camel Pose - Relieves stress and improves blood circulation & oxygenation for healing your mind and body.
  • Bridge Pose/Setu bandhasana - Improves blood circulation in the body. Opens the spine and heart, which would further reduce stress levels by calming the mind.
  • Butterfly pose - Simple yoga asana that stretches your inner thighs and groin.
  • Cow pose (Bitilasana) & Cat pose (Marjaryasana) - Gently stretches the body and warms up to relieve stress and massage the spine and stomach organs. Also improves your flexibility and calms your mind.
  • Child's Pose (Balasana) - Most relaxing asana, helps you feel rejuvenated and can relieve back pain and neck pain.

Facts & Figures on Yoga

Breath is the king of the mind! Through yoga, one can very well have a command of his/her life.
  • Yoga seeds its origin in India and there are 200,000 yoga instructors in India.
  • Maharshi Patanjali is known as the father of yoga, who compiled 195 Yoga Sutras that became the foundation of Yoga philosophy.
  • Inspired by the beauty of ancient tradition, 5% of people have given Sanskrit names to either their children or their pets.
  • It is reported that 15% of people go to an annual yoga retreat and Americans spend almost $2.5 billion amount on yoga instruction annually.
  • Around 300 copies of the first edition of "Yoga Journal" with ten pages were circulated with its launch in 1975.
  • Almost 1.7 million American children practise yoga under 17 years of age.
  • Bette Calman (85 years old) is the world's oldest yoga teacher as per the Guinness World Records.

Benefits of Yoga

  • Yoga is a way of living that aims towards a healthy mind in a healthy body.
  • It helps to manage and establish a balance between oneself (body, soul, and mind) and the environment.
  • It assists one to deal with several health problems like anxiety, depression, stress/worries, negative thoughts, chronic pain or illnesses.
  • Yoga improves self-healing by removing toxins from the body and enhancing self-awareness and personal power.
  • It rejuvenates the body to render it flexible and energized.
  • It may aid in lowering the risk of heart diseases, reducing weight and improving brain function.
"A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Self, when the perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires, and becomes absorbed in the Self alone," says Bhagavad-Gita. Hence the ultimate goal of yoga is to attain enlightenment through a healthy self.

References:
  1. INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA JUNE 21 - (https://yoga.ayush.gov.in/)
  2. International Day of Yoga 2021 - (https://mea.gov.in/idy-21.htm)
  3. International Day of Yoga 2021 Jingle Contest - (https://www.mygov.in/task/international-day-yoga-2021-jingle-contest/)
  4. International Yoga Day - (https://www.twinkl.co.in/event/international-yoga-day-2021)
  5. Register To Participate - (https://yogacertificationboard.nic.in/IDY2021/)


Source: Medindia

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