Tuesday June 18, 2019

Second International Yoga Day: India celebrates Yoga Day With PM Modi and 30,000 Yoga Enthusiasts

Around 96,000 enthusiasts had applied to practice yoga with Modi, and 30,000 were selected - 10,000 each from Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana

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International Yoga Day
Thousands of people participated in International Day of Yoga last year. Wikimedia
  • International Yoga Day is celebrated on 21 June 2016 every year after the unanimous resolution was passed by UN General Assembly in 2014
  • This year’s Yoga Day saw active participation from 30,000 people who joined the PM in Chandigarh
  • The Day was internationally recognized with the UN Building in NY by flashing yoga poses on its walls

International Yoga Day is a product of diligent endeavors by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the support of his government. The idea was first introduced by Modi on 27th September, 2014, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It 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. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being . Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day”, said Narendra Modi. He suggested the date to be 21st June since it is the longest day in the northern hemisphere, and holds special importance in many countries.

International Yoga Day
Yoga training. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

The Prime Minister celebrated the 2nd International Yoga Day in Chandigarh on Tuesday, 21st June 2016. Encouraging the nation to participate, Modi reiterated that this practice is essential to the health of the body as well as the mind, and not just a superstitious religious tradition. “Just as the mobile phone is now a part of your life, make yoga too a part of your life,” he said, inviting tumultuous applause. Despite a few thundershowers early morning, a huge turnout of yoga enthusiasts was witnessed with the event starting at 4 AM in the morning.

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Very tight security was ensured in Chandigarh’s sector 1 area. Around 96,000 enthusiasts had applied to practice yoga with Modi, and 30,000 were selected – 10,000 each from Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana. These selected people had also undergone training for the past 15 days to finally join in with the Prime Minister.

The focus for this year’s International Yoga Day was to encourage participation from the Divyangs, a term coined by the Modi government to address the differently-abled people. People from all walks of life, including college students, security personnel, and the elderly showed tremendous interest in the event that was held.

International Yoga Day
Richard Rahul Verma performing yoga. Image courtesy: ANI News

The Prime Minister’s Cabinet and other officials joined in on the effort. BJP Chief Ministers of various states were noticed holding events in their respective states. Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani participated in various yoga events to pledge support. Even the Us Ambassador to India, Richard Rahul Verma was photographed doing yoga with his colleagues at the US Embassy in Delhi. Baba Ramdev held his special event at Faridabad in Haryana.

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This day was marked with many news websites and newspapers publishing important facts about yoga, and proceedings worldwide. Apps were launched for smartphones to help people incorporate yoga into their day to day activities.

International Yoga Day also received international support from various countries like The US, Egypt, Russia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and The UK, where events were held for thousands of people. The UN Building in New York was seen flashing holograms of the yoga pose against their walls to mark the day.

The official website for International Day of Yoga hosted interactive puzzles and quizzes to engage participation. The government has been strategically publicizing this ancient Indian practice since a long time now. International awards and certificates have also been announced to commend yoga experts over the globe.

-by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yoga has many benefits, this is a very healthy initiative taken by the people. Plus 30,000 people doing yoga is a huge number. People should be encouraged to do more of it.

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Starting Over: 3 Best Yoga Practices for Getting Back in Shape

Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that yoga ameliorates depression, mood swings and insomnia

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As soon as you start doing asanas, you’ll know what the fuss is all about! Pixabay

If you have a good track record at recovering from injury, it doesn’t mean that you should be careless. Full disclosure here: I have a tendency to forgo safety measures whenever I partake in physical activities. It’s an adventurous side in me that also gets me injured. Not to dwell on details, but after a long recovery period that limited my allowance to exercise (doctor’s orders) a lot of my muscle had gone to fat and I’ve lost a considerable percentage of my strength. This certainly didn’t help my recovery, so while I searched for the best doctrine that can help me start over, I turned to yoga practices to get back into shape.

1. The right alignment and sun salutation

Certainly, there was a sense of risk that came with yoga practices, which is something I found intriguing, I’m ashamed to admit. While the right alignment could definitely help me speed up recovery, the wrong alignment could lead to additional injury. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that yoga ameliorates depression, mood swings and insomnia, which are all the symptoms that emerged during my downtime.

Since the injury that I suffered was mostly isolated to my lower back: a part of the core, unfortunately, I had to find the one ‘beginner’ practice that would not strain me too much, but which still has a ‘holistic’ effect. Therefore, I fully embraced one of the basic asanas known as sun salutation (Surya Namaskar). It actually consists of twelve yoga poses which will activate an impressive variety of your body-parts. It aided in the strengthening of my core and skeletal system as well, which was perfect for my injury.

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Surya Namaskar consists of twelve yoga poses which will activate an impressive variety of your body-parts. Wikimedia Commons

2. The upward plank and melting the weight away

Since I had to fortify my back muscles and abs, I also started practicing the upward plank after a week of doing the sun salutation exclusively. The name of this asana is Purvottanasana, and if you find this to be a mouthful, you can always fall back on the ‘upward plank’. It is an absolutely wonderful pose that also does wonders for your respiratory system.

It will make you sweat just about right which is amazing if you’ve accrued some unwanted fat. You can wear one of these comfortable sauna vests which are designed not to intervene with your exercises, no matter how crazy the positions get. Actually, any type of plank exercise is amazing for your core and your entire body, so you should see to it that you begin practicing these positions whenever you can because they are so convenient to do even in cramped spaces.

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Purvottasana is an absolutely wonderful pose that also does wonders for your respiratory system. Wikimedia Commons

3. The outdoors and the warrior pose

If you have a beachside near your apartment, you are in luck. Any yoga enthusiast would give everything they have for the opportunity to stretch in front of the rumbling waves every day. Me, I thankfully have a wonderful park at my disposal just two streets away from where I’m living right now. As soon as I felt I rebuilt some of my muscles and regained some of my strength, I began going to that park on a daily basis, with my trusty yoga mat in hand. This sublime outdoor environment is where I practiced the warrior pose – Virabhadrasana.

ALSO READ: Evening Exercise as Good as Morning Workout, Shows Study

Virabhadrasana starts off with mountain pose as the beginning position, and extends into a stretch of your left leg backward, as your right leg lunges into a ninety-degree position (it works with the legs switch as well, of course). Throughout this movement, your hands are constantly stretched above your head, and as your leg stretch stops, the arms go wide apart, like wings. This will do wonders for your legs in general, especially thighs, as well as arms and back. It is a welcoming asana for those that need to bring back a skip into their step after a long recovery.

If you are still cynical about yoga’s rejuvenating qualities, you can continue your online search for testimonies, lessons, and videos. God knows you’ll find an opulent range of verifiable sources just in the first fifteen minutes of your search, but know this now: nothing beats practice. As soon as you start doing asanas, you’ll know what the fuss is all about!