By: M R Lalu
Again an International Yoga Day! A large number of people across the globe began to sweat on a yoga mat on a daily basis; a tradition, passion and fashion in a world of rapidly changing tendencies. It is gradually getting welcomed across the globe at a much faster pace. Ever since the UN declaration on the need of Yoga being promoted as a wellness system to encourage good health, the demand for yoga trainers and the number of practitioners increased in millions. More people are ready to give it a try than anything else when it comes to maintaining a healthy routine intact. Positive results on the research of yoga and its efficacy in the mind-body management as a wellness practice have brought more people onto the yoga mat. While modern medical science mostly deals with the body, considering health as a state of wellness of the body alone, yoga helps a practitioner to go beyond the realm of it and discover the potentiality of the mind and the soul. Yoga brings in the spiritual aspects of cure which eliminates the anomalies of both body and mind. Health, according to the World Health Organization, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely an absence of disease or illness. This definition directly points to the advantages and authority of yoga practice as a complete wellness system. The Yoga tradition, for centuries, has been propagating the idea of looking at the body as an instrument, and energy both mental and spiritual, according to it, as a fuel to carry out its functions.
The historic declaration made by the United Nations in 2014 to observe June 21, every year as International Day of Yoga has come as a huge diplomatic victory for India; especially for the Modi regime for its efforts to bring the world nations to one table. Making countries across the globe line-up in recognition of India’s traditional health and wellness practice, the government could illuminate the world about the glory that yoga ornamented India with for years. Yoga can tremendously help in enhancing immunity. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika elaborates yoga as a holistic practice to ward off diseases and keep the body and mind with vigorous atonement to nature. Yoga therefore, needs to be seen as a mechanism that tries to understand the body and mind in their totality. Mistaking it as a process of twisting and turning of the body beyond its capacity is normal. That is how it is propagated and it is a complete misunderstanding.
A practitioner needs to understand the inner and outer dimensions of yoga practice and the effects it brings. The science of yoga (yoga shastra) clearly states the body as a multi-layered mechanism. It is necessary to know the body and the mind in their entirety. This ancient wellness science is believed to have originated 2500 years ago. Maharshi Patanjali in his yoga sutras or aphorisms scribbled the importance of a healthy living for a healthy society. He deals with the physical, emotional, intellectual and the spiritual aspects of an individual in detail. Practicing yoga regularly enables a person to go beyond the limits of his body and mind. Breathing exercises, popularly known as Pranayama, activates the intrinsic powers in our body and helps us to calm down the mind. Undoubtedly, yoga has the ability to raise a man from his animal instincts and help him discover his divine realms. It is because the practitioner becomes attentive to the smallest movement that he makes and he becomes totally watchful of the impulses of his mind. To go into the minute details of everything with complete attention is what yoga makes a practitioner capable of. The word yoga literally means ‘to unite or to join’, a union of the individual self with the cosmic one with complete awareness. Whereas, the most prominent definition of yoga that suits in the modern context is “yogah karmasu kaushalam” which means ‘skilful action’. This makes yoga a daily affair. Any action done with complete awareness and perfection is yoga. Awareness comes from attention and attention comes from trying to be totally mindful.
Yoga philosophy tells that the reasons for the diseases and discomforts of the body can be traced back to the mind. And understanding the mind and aligning the body consciously with the impulses of it gives it a healthy makeover. This means, problems of the body cannot be cured at the level of the body alone, but by delving into the anomalies of the mind. A disciplined yoga practice can certainly do wonders to a person’s health regime. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of life, we really miss the art of living. Yoga practice helps us keep connected with the inner self and an amicable alignment with the rest of the world is what it offers. Today the young generation is getting swayed away by the influence of cell phones, laptops and social media. Their concentration is severely affected. Regular yoga practice can help them gain concentration. The reason why yoga is gaining acceptance rapidly is that it can relieve the practitioner from stress, hypertension, obesity and cardiac problems etc. The change in the lifestyle would deeply impact the physical, mental and spiritual health of a person. Dedicated practice of yoga on a regular basis can balance the faculties of our life.
Promoting yoga as a market brand is a reality. It has mushroomed into a multi billion industry. We are sure to hit thousands of flashy web pages of yoga institutions on the internet. Rapid commercialization of yoga is trending at full speed and it is difficult to recognise the real stuff. Derivatives of yoga practices basically alien to the real stuff that Maharshi Patanjali decoded are flooding the yoga market. It is necessary to identify a real teacher who can take a practitioner beyond the twisting of limbs and make the real sense of union happen in him. Before stepping onto a yoga mat one should take a resolve as to what he needs to accomplish by becoming a practitioner. A yoga expert from a recognized school of yoga can help one overcome a lot of health problems. But do not forget, it is better to practice the wellness system with its traditional flavour. Yoga, to the present generation is opening a huge job avenue in India and abroad. Finding the best practice available in the market can enhance one’s career dreams as a yoga trainer and give a glossy brand value. Anyway, yoga is potential to work as a game changer in a world of tumult and terror and tyranny. Its effect is constant and everlasting. (The author is a freelance journalist/social worker & can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)