‘Yoga’ has its roots in ancient Hindu sacred writings. The teaching of Yoga was mainly handed down by word of mouth from “Guru” (Master/ Teacher) to “chela” (students).
The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means ‘to join’, ‘to yoke’. This leads to the definition that yoga is a means of joining one thing to another.
Simply expressed ‘Yoga’ is the ‘joining’ and ‘yoking’ of the individual soul to the ‘universe soul’ and the union of the personal spirit with the supreme. Yoga teaches us that any individual may achieve the state of spiritual advancement if he leads the right kind of life and studies and practices assiduously the means to obtain such accomplishment.
The principal vehicle for teaching of yoga has been the Vedas. In their original form the teaching was given an affirmation, general rules of conduct.
It is said that an Indian sage Patanjali is called the ‘Father of Yoga’. He collected old writings and formed with them, his ‘Yoga Sutras’. The Sutras are condensed statements written and coordinated to give the principles of Yoga a particular philosophy.
Even though many years have passed, many generations of thinkers and philosopher have come and gone, the principle of Yoga is timeless. The teaching of Yoga is timeless, is as right and effective today as it was thousands of years in the past.
Ernest Wood, Professor of American Academy of Asia studies has brought out that ‘Yoga’ is a system of spiritual and physical culture practised from ancient times of India. Its exponents combine religion, philosophy, psychology, culture into one complete science and art. Yoga has been applied not only to the central aim of attaining heightened consciousness, but also to the development of every human faculty - Physical, emotional and ethical.
Dennis Dune, Principal of London School of Yoga says ‘Yoga’ is a method by which to obtain control of one’s latent powers. It offers the complete means to Self-Realisation.
Yoga is a subject of such breadth and depth that it covers every possible phase of human existence. The fact that it has existed unchanged for so many years, speaks clearly of its veracity and usefulness to mankind.
It is therefore clear that Yoga is a way of life which can be practised by any human being regardless of age and condition of health. It is based on general physical and spiritual tenet applicable to all mankind.
The practice of Yoga stress gentle and rhythmic movement. By applying knowledge of the physiological aspect of the body, that is the gland, nerve and organ on which its health depends, Yoga aims to keep body supple, young and in full vigour of health long beyond the normal span.
Regular practice of yoga is beneficial to improve neuro-muscular coordination, makes the bones muscle and nerve healthy. It is of use for defective eyesight. It simulates the pancreas and helps in diabetes management. It improves breathing and lung capacity. It is helpful to relieve neck, back and spine suffering and ailment. It helps to counter stress and anxiety to keep the mind calm and quiet and develop positive frame of mind.
The International Yoga Day was celebrated on 21 June, 2018 at Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre (SVICC), Pailles. The official launching of activities was performed by H E Mr Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, Acting President of the Republic of Mauritius, in the presence of H E Shri Abhay Thakur, High Commissioner of India and important personalities of Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and representatives of various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
The High Commissioner of India spelt out the message of H.E Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi that ‘Yoga’ is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body. It promotes harmony between man and nature. Approximately 1000 participants from different parts of the country participated in this event.
The session was concluded with a meditation session to eliminate negativity such as fear, anger, and depression. Meditation enhances concentration, memory and clarity of thought.
To end the session participants collectively took part in a prayer to commit to a balanced state of mind. It is the highest stage of self-development to commit to duty towards self and society, to the world. In essence the benefits of Yoga can be summarised as:
Ø It teaches one to develop one’s latent, inborn faculty.
Ø It helps to develop will-power through control of emotion, resistance to temptation of passion, power and greed.
Ø Yoga expands the intellect, develops spiritual consciousness.
On the occasion of International Yoga Day, it is important to recall the gist of the teaching of Yoga. Through concentration and mediation we move towards mental and spiritual improvement. We have the possibility to cure pain and alleviate our ailment by harnessing our vital force. Yoga teaches a life of selfless service to mankind and to the community. It is said that practice of Yoga opens the heart and mind. It shows the pathway to long life, happiness, peace and harmony. Beyond doubt, these basic inherent principles and values in Yoga contribute towards serenity and calmness. Serenity builds confidence, takes us to a higher level of intellect, to adopt better attitude towards every citizen, our surrounding and get better focus to development and overall well-being of humanity photographs shown above illustrate the manner International Yoga Day has been celebrated with collaboration of stakeholders.