International Yoga Day – 2015Simon Ralph
Well, I didn’t see this one coming, did you?
But, what a brilliant invention.
The 21st June, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, known as the Summer Solstice, marks the transition from Uttarayan to Dakshinayana. Uttarayan, which begins on the shortest day, the Winter Solstice, marks the turning of the sun back to the north and longer days; with Dakshinayana, the longest day, marking the turning of the sun towards the south, and shorter days. The Solstices are a part of the rhythm of the earth, from striving to flowering, from Dakshinayana, the time of doing, to Uttarayan, the time of reaping the natural harvest that comes from the doing.
The first full moon after Summer Solstice is known as Guru Poornima, and in the yogic lore, is the first transmission of yoga by Shiva, the first Guru. This day is also considered a time when there is natural support for those pursuing spiritual practices.
I am pleased to say that from this year on, it will also now be known as, ‘International Yoga Day’.
The idea was the inspiration of the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi. He asked the world leaders to adopt an International Yoga Day, saying that by changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Modi said, “Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” He noted that Yoga is “an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition”. He added, “It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
“Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being,” he concluded. And very well said indeed, don’t you think?
This year, 190 countries around the world joined the celebrations, and demonstrated the practical benefits of Yoga in its many forms. Such a show of unity is both a wonder, and an inspiration.
Yoga has been around for at least 2000 years, and some say as much as 5000 years, but I’m not so sure about that. However, there is definitely great benefit in all its forms. Whether it is yoga asanas, which are body postures, pranayama, which is breathing technic, or meditation, which, in my opinion is the king of yoga, and addresses and empowers the very aspect of who we truly are, the Soul.
The Soul is the fundamental part of our essence, it is the pin-point of our consciousness, it is the basis of all our experiences and it is the foundation of life itself. Without the soul, the body becomes merely a carcass!
When we nurture this part of who we are, we a capable if amazing things.
We can transform our bad habits, actions and way of thinking.
We can reform our behaviour, our attitude and out intentions, which is the basis of self-transformation, and so transformation of the world in general.
Mr Modi spoke of yoga being able to help in controlling climate change, but that is actually just the tip if the iceberg. Yoga is the only way to bring lasting peace into the world. Yoga is ‘connection’; firstly to the self, and then to The Source, The Divine
This year, many yoga Centres from around the UK participated in the event on 21st June. The main event took place at the Alexandra Palace, an historic entertainment venue built in 1873, standing in 7.5 acres of parkland near Muswell Hill in North London. Proceedings began at 6am and continued till 8 pm, with activities such as, Salute to the Sun, Mindfulness, Cool Slim Yoga, Mantra Chanting, The Art of Graceful Transitions, Boxing Yoga and of course Meditation.
The finale was conducted by the Brahma Kumaris, in the form of a deep experience of Easy Raja Yoga Meditation, an open-eyed contemplation of the real self, the shining star at the centre of the forehead, and your connection with the Supreme Soul.
Let us know if you were there, and how you enjoyed it…