The United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga on December 11, 2014.
The declaration of this day came after the call for the adoption of 21 June as International Day of Yoga by the PM Shri Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated: "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. 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 within yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."
The Indian Red Cross Society has been promoting Yoga through its Health promotion course being run at the National Headquarters in Delhi. The objective of IRCS is to promote awareness about Ayurveda and Yoga and make the participants, the torch bearers for these ancient sciences and entrust them to help modify lives of those around them. As dynamics of the world we live in, change, so does our lifestyle. With new stresses, the incidence of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression and other lifestyle diseases are rising. Indian Red Cross Society (NHQ) has been conducting 3 months (50 hours) Health promotion course through Ayurveda and Yoga for many years. 16 batches have been trained so far, and the 17th batches’ training is in progress. IRCS tests each participant on various health parameters before and after completion of the course, to document the beneficial changes that the participants have been experiencing. The results have been very encouraging.
Yoga is essentially mind centric, and through various postures and breathing practises leads to calming the mind which in turn leads to good health. Yoga bestows on us, the capacity to be able to choose thoughts that are good for us and discard the negative ones. This is what leads to stress-free and blissful living.
Yoga has touched various lives throughout the world, so much so that this initiative of the Prime Minister to assign an International Yoga Day found support from many global leaders.
So much evidence and the popularity of Yoga around the world suggest that it will go a long way in helping people through stressful living. It is indeed a way of life that can lift societies out of chronic illnesses resulting in healthier societies. All must devote some time daily to practise Yoga and remain healthy.
Dr S P Agarwal
Indian Red Cross Society