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    OpinionsYOGA: FOR SELF AND SOCIETY International Day of Yoga: June 21

    YOGA: FOR SELF AND SOCIETY International Day of Yoga: June 21

    Date:

    Dr. Parveen Kumar*

    Yoga is an invaluable gift of 's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with you, the world and the nature. Yoga's origins can be traced to northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in ancient sacred texts called the Rig Veda. The Vedas are a set of four ancient sacred texts written in Sanskrit. Researchers and historians trace the development of yoga back 5,000 years. Some take yoga origins even further back to 10,000 years. India is widely considered one of the most spiritual places on Earth and it's easy to see why. It is home to several of the most sacred sites in the world and it offers more than 1,300 yoga retreats, yoga ashrams and yoga teacher training courses.

    HISTORY OF IYD: On September 27, 2014, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forth his suggestion for the occasion of a ‘Yoga Day'. The draft resolution proposed by India was then endorsed by a record 177 member states. Recognizing the universal appeal of Yoga and owing to its demonstrated benefits towards immunity building and stress relief, United Nations General Assembly proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. Since then, this day has been observed all over the globe with growing numbers with the objective of reminding the peoples across the globe about the benefits of Yoga and to build enduring public interest in Yoga by highlighting its importance and contribution to public health. In 2015 Reserve Bank of India issued a 10 rupees commemorative coin to mark the International Day of Yoga. In April 2017, UN Postal Administration (UNPA) issued 10 stamps on Asanas on a single sheet to mark International Day of Yoga. When proposing 21 June as the date, Modi said that the date was the longest day of the year in the mass northern hemisphere (shortest in the southern hemisphere), having special significance in many parts of the world. From the perspective of yoga, the summer solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana. The second full moon after summer solstice is known as Guru Purnima. Shiva, the first yogi (Adi Yogi), is said to have begun imparting the knowledge of yoga to the rest of mankind on this day, and became the first guru (Adi Guru). Following the adoption of the UN resolution, several leaders of the spiritual movement in India voiced their support for the initiative. The founder of Isha Foundation, Sadhguru, stated, ‘this could be a kind of a foundation stone to make scientific approach to the inner well-being of the human being, a worldwide thing… It's a tremendous step for the world.' The founder of Art of Living, Ravi Shankar, lauded the efforts of Modi, saying, ‘It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without state patronage.

    THE FIRST IYD: The first International Day of Yoga was observed around the world on 21 June 2015. The Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India made the necessary arrangements in the country. More than thirty five thousand peoples, including PM Modi and dignitaries from 84 nations, performed 21 asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes at Raj path in New Delhi, becoming the largest yoga class ever held, and with the largest number 84 of participating nations. Similar days have been held in cities in India and around the world each year since then.

    THEME OF IYD 2024: Every year, on June 21, the world comes together to celebrate the International Day of Yoga. The day aims to spread awareness about the benefits of the spiritual and physical practice that had first started in ancient India. Every Year, the day is celebrated with a theme. This year the theme for the day is ‘Yoga: for self and society.' This year's theme aims to focus deliberations on how Yoga can do well for oneself and ultimately result in better societies.

    YOGA AND HUMAN HEALTH: Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility. Slow movements and deep breathing increase blood flow and warm up muscles, while holding a pose can build strength. Yoga helps with back pain relief. Yoga is as good as basic stretching for easing pain and improving mobility in people with lower back pain. The American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain. John Hopkins University review of 11 recent studies has shown that Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms. Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomfort of tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis. Yoga benefits heart health. Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Several of the factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be addressed through yoga. Yoga relaxes us helping us sleep better. Research shows that a consistent bedtime yoga routine can help us get in the right mindset and prepare our body to fall asleep and stay asleep. Yoga can mean more energy and brighter moods. One feels increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practicing yoga. Yoga helps us manage stress. According to the Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep. Yoga connects us with a supportive community. Participating in yoga classes can ease loneliness and provide an environment for group healing and support. It promotes better self-care.

    Numerous studies show yoga's benefits in arthritis, osteopenia, balance issues, oncology, women's health, chronic pain and other specialties. Yoga has existed so far almost like an orphan. Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world. To quote Sh. Ravi Shankar of ‘The of Living', Yoga has existed so far almost like an orphan. Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world.

    Yoga in Farming: Yoga in Farming means applying power of thought. Power of thought is believed to be a new fertilizer that leads to food security. It is a unique form of farming that combines thought-based meditative practices with methods of organic and is bringing clear economic and social benefits to smallholder agrarian communities in India. It is based on the principle that in the same way as people can feel good or bad vibrations from one another; seeds will also react to thoughts exposed to them. When we show modesty towards your crops, they return us back with the maximum productivity.

    Power of Thought: Farmers have to give seeds the power of positive thoughts through a higher state of consciousness through meditation. This is done through practiced meditators which focus thoughts of peace, non-violence, love, strength and resilience on the seeds for up to a month before sowing. Regular meditations are conducted remotely and in the fields with specific thought practices designed to support each phase of the crop growth cycle from empowering seeds and seed germination, through sowing, irrigation and growth, to harvest and soil replenishment.    Positive thoughts have an impact on nature and even livestock and peoples' around. Nature reads our minds and power of thoughts can be effectively used in farm sector. Presently, nearly one thousand farmers throughout India are combining organic farming with meditation, which is showing remarkable results. It has also improved farmers' emotional well-being and enhanced community resilience. The meditative practices have been designed for each phase of the agrarian cycle, from seed to harvest.

    The Evidence from the Ground: While the concept of Yoga farming originated in India, it has now spread to Europe and other countries where it is practiced in a big way. In the country, ‘Yoga Farming' is being revived by the Raja Yoga Education and Research Foundation, a sister organization of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, a non-governmental organization headquartered at Mount Abu, Rajasthan. The organization has been teaching methods of personal empowerment based on Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Meditation (BKRYM) techniques for the last 77 years. In this regards, a bonafide research was conducted at the G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUAT), Pantnagar, Uttarakhand in 2012-13 and on a farmer's field in Gagsina village of Karnal, Haryana (2011-12) and at the SD University of Agriculture and Technology (SDUAT), Dantewada in the state of Gujarat from 2009 to 2012 to see the effects of yogic farming through BKRYM on the different aspects of seed and crops as well as its feasibility in agricultural transformation. Results revealed that seeds exposed to BKRYM enhanced germination, seedling growth, and vigor. The quality of groundnut and wheat improved, along with increased soil microbial population. Farming through Yoga comes with a social aspect too. The increasing income further increases farmers' self-esteem reducing the frequency of farmer suicides and lessens the social violence in families and villages.

     

     

                                        The author writes on agriculture and social issues; can be reached at pkumar6674@gmail.com

     

     

     

     

     

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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