YOGA DAY: International Day Of The Yoga Celebrated In Vancouver

By Zile Singh


International Day of Yoga


On June 7th, The Consulate-General of India, Vancouver organized a Curtain Raiser Event for the International Day of Yoga.  Hon’ble Consul-General gave an overall view of the system of Yoga and its benefits. In addition, almost half a dozen local Yoga teachers threw light on Yoga from different angles.   The Yoga day will be observed internationally on June 21st.  Attending any event at the Consulate is like a pilgrimage to me because the Consulate has given me a significant ground for my after-retirement creative, meditative and reflective life in Vancouver.  However, inferring from my yogic perspective I may say, “ Malta would be a  delightful place if every pilgrim  were a tree.”


Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras said, “When you are inspired by some great purpose and some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds.   Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.  Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a great person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”


The term ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning’ to join’ or’ to yoke’ or’ to unite.’ Thus, it is joining or establishing  harmony between your body, mind and soul, yoking your inner emotional- self and ultimately uniting with the universal consciousness.  One who experiences the oneness with universal existence is said to be “in Yoga” and is termed as a Yogi who has attained a state of freedom. Yoga does not advocate escaping the worldly life and live a life of a parasite or a recluse but living a household life by doing the required duties and benefiting himself and the society at large by the fruits of his duties. Yoga is a way of life, without undue craving or aversion in his day-to-day chores. A Yogi is one who dwells in the present moment with his mindfulness and consciousness. In sum; a yogic life is an ideal life of “Now”. It is neither the past nor the future.


On December 11, 2014, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) approved a Resolution by consensus with a record 177 co-sponsoring countries to adopt June 21st as “International Day of Yoga”. India was the main sponsor of the Resolution. The UNGA recognized that Yoga is a useful approach to health and well-being for all including many lifestyle-related disorders.   The main fundamentals of Yoga are, Karma Yoga (Asanas) where we use the body; Jnana Yoga, where we utilize the mind; Bhakti Yoga, where we utilize the emotions and Kriya Yoga, where we utilize  the subtle energy body to reach a heightened sense of being.


In Karma Yoga there are different Sadhnas like Yam, Niyam, Asana, Pranayam, Pratyahar, Dharna, Dhyan, Samadhi, Bandhas, Mudras, Satkarmas, Yuktahara, Mantra-Jap, Yukta-Karma etc.


On a broader view, all the countries on the globe need the acceptance and practice of yoga.    India, the land of yoga and the yogis is no exception to this.   When there is a break down of values and ideals,  creeping paralysis of fear and suspicion everywhere, people no longer feel secure, there is an urgent need for Yoga.   The Yoga, in its right perspective, can strengthen democratic ideals and advance the cause of world unity and peace.  In fact, Yoga is not a symbolic return to the methods and ways of life of the Ancient Ages.  On the contrary, it is seeking to explore the innermost urge of a human being – a desire for knowledge and to live in a secular, liberal  and inclusive atmosphere cobbled with a scientific temper.  Yoga is the positive method to wipe out the negative human emotions like hate, anger, jealousy, lust, ego, attachment and delusion.  It promotes love, mutual understanding, compassion, selflessness, non-attachment and a clear perception of oneness with the whole universe.  In addition to its physical benefits, Yoga enhances mental   awareness, mindfulness and universal consciousness.   It talks about the development of a free spirit in place of an orthodox and unfounded rigid ideology.  It impresses upon the multi-faceted development of the society at large.   It does not talk about the society peopled by a different kind of human beings who had lived under a mythical,  compartmentalized and divisive  social system.  Yoga has that reservoir of power that gives us in modern   times the power to mold the very face of the society and humanity at large casting aside the racial, religious, caste, colour and political considerations.


In a right yogic perspective, Socrates said, “ I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world.”  Even the Preamble of the United Nations Charter mentions, among others, “ ….. To establish conditions under which justice and respect for law and the pledged word can be maintained, and To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends To practice tolerance and live together in peace as good neighbours and To unite our strength to maintain international peace and security ….”  The UN Preamble thus reflects the basic ideas of yoga to mitigate human chaos.


In one of his messages on the occasion of International Yoga Day the Prime Minister of India observed, “ ….Yoga goes beyond being a set of physical exercises.  In fact, physical fitness is a by-product of Yoga.  Yoga teaches us how to lead a balanced life.  It is the key to a balanced mind, healthy body, and noble thoughts and connects us to our inner self.  In a time when destructive forces are desperately trying to make their presence felt and divide the world, it is Yoga that can bring the world together…..”


Finally, “Yoga is  simple science.  It is neither theistic nor atheistic.  Patanjali really is superb, a miracle of a man. He never denies, he never assumes”. – Osho


Mr. Zile Singh is much respected Link Columnist, writer, a Vipassana Meditator and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Rights.  He can be reached at zsnirwal@yahoo.ca


Comments are closed