International Yoga Day was observed a few weeks back. Everybody then was talking about yoga. It’s unbelievable how this euphoria has touched the hearts of people across 195 countries.
How did the International Day of Yoga start?
It started with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the United Nations in 2014. He expressed his wish to dedicate a day as the International Day for Yoga. The U.N. agreed to sanction the event. Nine months later, the entire world was preparing for a yoga spectacle.
When did yoga begin?
There are various opinions on when yoga started. One of them is that yoga developed about 5000 years ago in ancient India. It started with Patanjali Yoga Sutras. However, over time the methods and practices have evolved significantly. Now you hear of Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga etc.
What is yoga?
Many people consider yoga to be a form of physical exercise. It’s practiced just to remain physically fit which may also keep the mind calm. However, this is a very limited approach to yoga. Yoga is much more than physical exercise. It’s a physical, mental and spiritual practice.
Yoga means union, link or connection.
What are the various connections one can have?
Connecting with the self.
Till you don’t learn to connect with the self you can’t learn to connect with others. Start by asking yourself a few questions
- What do I want in life?
- What am I passionate about?
- What makes me happy?
- What makes me feel loved?
How much time did you take to answer these? The longer you took the lesser you’re connected with yourself. Maybe it’s because of this busy life. It’s time to make time for yourself.
Connecting with the body
You might be taking the right nutrients, doing physical exercise and getting regular health checkups done. Maybe even doing pedicure, manicure, waxing etc. But, are you connected with your body?
Take this a step further. Are you aware of how your body feels? What does it want? For example, you have a headache. Your body is telling you that it needs attention. It needs rest. What do you do? Instead of giving it rest do you feed it with caffeine or nicotine?
Observe and feel the sensations in the body. Even if it’s a slight tension in your fingers due to constant typing.
Don’t push your body’s needs under the carpet. Listen to your body. Take care of it.
Connecting with people
Today everybody is easily accessible through phones, social media, video calls etc. Friends and family are just a click away. You may be talking to them but are you feeling their feelings? Sensing their emotions?
- What makes my loved ones happy?
- Is my best friend in pain?
- What was the most tragic event in my father’s life?
These days people say – spend quality time. You may spend time with your family by watching movies, going on holidays, partying, long drives etc.
Is this quality time?
- Do these activities connect you emotionally with them?
- Do your loved ones feel heard?
- Are they comfortable sharing their dark secrets with you?
If not then you need to connect with them further at an emotional level.
Connecting with God
Is God just a ritual or a part of your devotion? Is He someone you go to when you are in trouble? Or do you feel connected with God?
Real yoga is when you take care of all the four connections mentioned above. It is not just physical health but a stage where no behavioral ailments, mental tensions or worries exist. There is harmony within and in relations.
Yoga is an ideal method of curing physical & psychological disorders.
Of all the yoga techniques taught by various yogis over centuries, Raja Yoga has been termed as the king of all yoga.
According to Holy Gita, an idea yogi is the one who has
- Purity and chastity in thoughts, words and deeds.
- Knowledge & wisdom
- A quiet mind
- Conquered temptation of the sense organs
- Overcomed ego, lust, anger, attachment and greed
- Pure and balanced diet
To become an ideal yogi it’s good to understand the nuances of the definition mentioned above.
However, the entire process starts with knowing the self. So, begin with connecting with yourself first and the rest will follow.