A resolution to recognise June 21st as ‘World Yoga Day’ has been tabled in the New York City in line with the United Nations’ decision to commemorate the day internationally.
Council member for the 19th district, Paul Vallone tabled the resolution on Tuesday, calling on the city to commemorate June 21 as ‘World Yoga Day’.
The resolution, that is yet to be voted upon, notes that the UN had last year declared June 21 to be commemorated each year as the ‘International Day of Yoga’.
A ‘Yogathon’ website focusing on the movement of Yoga in the US has also been launched by Indian Consul General Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay.
Started by the Overseas Volunteers of Better India(OVBI), the website aims to serve as a one-stop portal that will provide information and details about various yoga events planned in over 100 US cities on June 21.
Mulay said that several events will be held across the US in the run-up to June 21, aimed at spreading awareness about yoga and to “celebrate yoga as a world heritage.
According to the Ambassador, yoga should not be seen with a religious perspective.
“We have been celebrating yoga for 5000 years and it has evolved as a holistic life mechanism and not just a lifestyle,” he said.
“It is an ancient Indian practice that provides solutions in current times of anger, stress and disputes. The City Council resolution is a recognition of yoga as well of India’s heritage”, he further elaborated.
Last year, after the UN General Assembly adopted an India-led resolution co-sponsored by a record 175 countries, June 21st was declared as the ‘International Day of Yoga’
Less than three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea at the UN, the UNGA passed the resolution saying that “yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being.”
“The UN declared June 21 of each year as international yoga day; now therefore, be it resolved that the Council of the City of New York recognises and commemorates June 21 as World Yoga Day in the City of New York,” the City Council resolution reads.
The resolution referred to a number of studies to back-up the recognition of Yoga:
A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology that showed that yoga produced significant changes in body weight, diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate.
The recognition of Yoga by the US Centre for Disease and Control as a “great activity for everyone.”
A 2012 study which claimed that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga
The listing of New York by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 cities in the US for yoga.
This year will mark the first commemoration of International Day of Yoga by the UN.
Lord Krishna said to Arjun in the Geeta, “Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection.” Patanjali’s description of the practice of yoga after the yamas and niyamas, directs towards the pratyahara, meaning turning inward of the senses. In simple terms when one is unable to restrain the senses, they become powerless to direct their minds. No matter how well-read or wise they sound while talking, it carries little importance without the practice discipline. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ (“to yoke”) which is more literally translated as “union of the individual’s Atma or soul with Paramatma or god (the universal soul). This is often understood as a union with the divine power by the integration of body, mind, and spirit. Thus, Yoga is what imparts an internal discipline, not only to the body but also to the mind and spirit.
History of the art of Yoga
Bhagavad Gita, the holy scripture of Hindus also states the importance of yoga, “Yoga is the journey of the self, to the self, through the self”it beautifully quotes. The history of Yoga is accurately is difficult to trace its has many places of obscurity and uncertainty. In those ages, texts and teaching were passed down orally. Not only was the oral transmission of sacred texts is a common occurrence but the secretive nature of its teachings was also a recurring phenomenon. Furthermore, earlier writings on yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed, or even lost making it difficult to trace the exact time of its inception. However, experts claim that the development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, some researchers even think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old.
The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred known to mankind, the Rig Veda. These Vedas are sacred Hindu texts and were a collection of songs, mantras, and rituals to be used by Brahmans and Vedic priests. Later on, Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the Brahmans and Rishi munis who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, which contains 200 scriptures. However, to date, the most renowned Yogic scriptures where Yoga and its benefits are mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita which was composed in around 500 B.C.E.
Yoga’s long rich history can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice, and development or the pre-classic, classical, post-classical, and the modern period. Yoga as a means of exercise for the body and mind is a deeply rooted concept of Hinduism in India for centuries. Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga are considered the four main yogas, but with time and development now there are many other types.
Yoga in the modern period
Yoga is more of a spiritual act and it remains a vibrant living tradition. It is seen all across the world as a means to enlightenment for the mind and soul. In the 1800s and 1900s, yogic gurus traveled to the West, gaining attention, and followers and making Yoga more and more famous. Essentially this spread can be traced back to, 1893 when in the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda left the attendees spellbound with his speech. His lectures on yoga and wellbeing were a great catalyst in spreading the word about this art. Late, in the 1920s and 30s, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India as the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and other yogis became popular.
Krishnamacharya was the first to open a Hatha Yoga school in Mysore in 1924. Sometime later in 1936 Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the holy river Ganges, he aroused three students that continued his legacy and increased the popularity of Hatha Yoga. They were B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar, and Pattabhi Jois. Sivananda himself wrote over 200 books on yoga and established nine ashrams and many yoga centers across the world, making yoga popular worldwide. In the western world, the importance of yoga and its popularity soared when Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947.
Yoga is popular in many parts of the world. Especially in the United States, yoga has become associated with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, which have gained immense popularity as fitness exercises. Even though Yoga is central to Hinduism, other religions like Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, have also been greatly influenced by it throughout the world. Some of the most important Hindu texts which have laid the ground for yoga worldwide include the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Yoga and Modi
PM Modi has been a patron of yoga, practicing and propagating the idea of yoga and its importance worldwide. Recently at a yoga event called “Yoga for Peace” in Argentina’s capital Mr. Modi addressed the participants saying that the practice of Yoga connects everyone to happiness. The Prime Minister further said that if the mind is at peace, there would be peace in family, society, country, and the world as well. He went on to say that “Yoga is India’s gift to the world for health, wellness, and peace.” Yoga can be credited to connects us with wellness and happiness and bring peace of mind to many across the globe. PM Modi further said that Yoga is bridging the vast distance between India and Argentina. It is connecting people worldwide and binding them in a positive light. PM Modi has on other occasions termed yoga as the “unifying force of the world”
The multiple benefits that the practice of yoga has on a person’s wellbeing are accepted all across the world. In these tough times when people are locked inside their houses as anxiety and worklessness eat them up, Yoga can be a great support. It would not only help to bring the mind at peace but also help with the body at such times when physical activity is low. Yoga could help deal with anxiety and stress which commonly surround people in a lockdown. In fact, recent studies have said that Yoga even helps in quitting smoking and other tobacco products. This can be a great time for people to quit their bad habits and turn to a path of spirituality. Yoga in every sense of the world is excellent support in these stressful times or literally every time. It brings harmony and peace not only to the mind but also to the body.
Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition that has been practiced in the Indian subcontinent for at least 5000 years. The word “Ayurveda” comes from the Sanskrit terms Ayur (life) and Veda (knowledge). Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine was documented in Vedas thousands of years ago. It has evolved over the years and is now integrated with other traditional practices, including yoga.
Suśruta Samhita is an important book in Ayurveda. Originally written in the Sanskrit language by Sushruta about 5000 years ago. Sushruta (Suśruta) is regarded to be the Father of Surgery for inventing and developing surgical procedures in ancient India. According to legend, Lord Dhanvantari passed the medical insight to his follower Divodasa, who then instructed Sushruta.
During 300 BCE, Charaka, an Ayurveda Physician compiled his knowledge of medicine and called it Agnivesa Samhita, later re-named it as Charak Samhita. This consists of eight books and one hundred twenty chapters. Charak Samhita describes the facts of diseases, diagnosis, treatments, and medicines which are necessary for the well being of human. It also includes sections on the importance of diet, hygiene, prevention, medical education, the teamwork of a physician, nurse, and patient necessary for recovery to health. Charaka Samhita mentions 84 types of alcoholic preparations and their medicinal value. Cannabis (Bhang) and Papaver somniferum (Afu) were used as potential pain relievers due to unavailability of analgesics. Use of cannabis is also mentioned in texts for sedation and anesthetization during surgeries.
Appearances of people
According to Ayurvedic principles, everyone has a specific constitution or prakruti that determines his/her character and disease vulnerability. Health care is highly individualized practice under Ayurvedic principles. Appearances of people are categorized into 3 groups Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Vata – Thin and slim figured persons – It is associated with air and space. Vata energy is liked to a bodily movement that includes blood circulation and breathing. People who are creative and thinkers are of this category.
Pitta – People of medium build and sharp features – Pitta energy is linked to fire and is thought to control the digestive and endocrine systems. People of this category are fiery in temperament and intelligent.
Kapha – People with a stout figure and well-developed body and calm in Nature – Kapha energy is linked to earth and water. It is believed to control strength and growth and is associated with the back, torso, and chest.
Ayurvedic medicines are prepared according to the Prakruthi of a person and the therapeutic effect needed. Milk, ghee, honey, molasses, ashes of pearls or diamonds, rock salts, several types of herbs- these are ingredients of Ayurvedic medicines.
In Ayurvedic preparations, the part of an herb is chosen and used depending on where its medicinal value lies and its curative effects on the body. Some examples are listed below:
Turmeric, Ginger, Velvet Leaf, Rhubarb: Roots
Chaste Tree, Coriander, Aloe Vera: Leaves
Black Pepper, Gooseberry, Indian Gall Nut: Fruit
Neem Tree, Ashoka Tree, Sandalwood: Bark
Cardamom, Coriander, Cowhage Plant: Seeds
Different herbs have different healing powers.
Aloe Vera, Sandalwood, Turmeric, Shatavari- Antiseptic (Protects against infections)
Turmeric, Echinacea – Antibiotic (Fights against viral and bacterial infections)
Chamomile, Chrysanthemum, Basil, Ginger – Carminative (Helps in proper digestion)
Bhasma literally means ashes. The medicated ashes of various metals and non-metals are administered as medicines. The effect of this bhasma is so instantaneous that it seems no less than a miracle. There are various researches on where the properties of these bhasmas are being evaluated. Bhasma is nothing but nanoparticles it is said.
Ayurveda for Animals
There is a specific branch in Ayurveda named as Pashu Ayurveda, where treatment protocols for diseases occurring to horses, elephants, and dogs are also mentioned.
Dhanvantari is a celebrated figure amongst the practitioners of Ayurveda. He is the progenitor of Ayurveda, and he stands on the top in the hierarchy of medicine in India. They celebrate Dhanvantari’s birthday on Dhanteras every year too. In Srimad Bhagavata Purana, there is a story about Bhagavan Dhanvatari when he revealed Ayurveda to the world. He is worshiped today as the pioneer of medical science in Hindu dharma. (VedicFeed)
The Herricks Board of Education is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Middle School Association.
The Year 2020-21 School Budget Vote and its Board of Education Election is to be conducted on Tuesday, June 9th. Two seats in the board are being challenged. Henry R. Zanetti and James Gounaris are running for re-elections against challengers Bhajan S. Ratra and Tarantej S. Arora.
Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the vote was postponed from its original date scheduled in May and it will now be conducted exclusively by absentee ballot via US Mail.
Challenger Bhajan S. Ratra is an adjunct professor of Mathematics at Baruch College and SUNY Farmingdale. He is a panel member on the content advisory and bias review committees of New York State Teaching Certification Examination and has served in the past on the standards setting committee for the NYS Regents exams. He claims that unfair practices and inappropriate approach is smacking the election for the board.
The preceding position holders- Zanetti and James Gounaris have violated the code of conduct by doing undesirable posts through social media.
In the below given screenshot it can be observed that they are instigating the audience to vote for them by posting a picture of the ballot having their names marked. They can also be seen getting criticized by a user questioning the “appropriateness” of the post.
According to the rules, it is illegal to take selfies/ post the picture of the ballot during the time of election in New York. Zanetti and James were seen violating the rules, thus, Ratra claims that their candidature should be disqualified.
In the above added screenshot, it can also be seen that the incumbents have pointed out “yes” To the budget vote. This can be considered as an act of misleading the public regardless of prior audits. According to the rules, an incumbent can not urge the public to vote “yes”. This raises some very serious questions- Does the incumbent(s) has/have their personal interest in voting “Yes”?
Mr. Ratra states that the reason for him contesting the election is because of his will to serve his community being an educator. As a member of the board of education he wants to use his experience to influence the decisions taken by the board that will help to move the Herricks School district from good to great. Bhajan aims to establish a transparent approach between students, families, Teachers and board members.
There were many issues emerging earlier in the board, among them which was an inordinate approach with the board’s budget. The NY State Auditors concluded that The Herricks school district consistently overspent its budget for custodians’ overtime pay — thousands of dollars in expenditures that in many cases may not have been necessary. Bhajan aims to focus on solving these very core issues, he says that he aims to take a stand but every time he tries, his voice gets dominated.
Despite these frustrations and pressures, Bhajan has refused to give up because his only aim is to establish a clean and fair approach. In his concludary words Bhajan told NewsGram- “It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, my only aim is to serve my community in any possible way, these frustrations and pressures doesn’t affect me as I continue to take stand for my role and responsibility as someone who wants to contribute to the society”.
Now, it is to be think upon~ what best possible action would be taken as far as the code of conduct and the rules are concerned with due respect to the elections. Here position doesn’t matter, what matters is ethics and the truth.