June 18, 2015
All You Need to Know About the Upcoming International Day of Yoga #IDY
The story of how yoga originated is filled with intrigue and a like a lost artifact, it is an ancient one. There are many theories about the origins of yoga. You might have heard that yoga originates somewhere from India and more specifically, the Himalayan region. While yoga originates from that region, it is now a worldwide phenomenon.
It is estimated that over 300 million practice hatha yoga and over 2 billion people practice other paths of yoga. On June 21st, 2015 the world will celebrate yoga on the first ever International Day of Yoga. The United Nations has declared this day to recognize the importance of yoga.
Organizations from all over the world are working together to combine efforts so that the message of yoga can be made available to all. A message that is universal in its appeal: reduced stress, peace, happiness, improved relationships, mental clarity and vibrant health.
The world is made up of various cultures that could be celebrated and appreciated. Although we are enhanced with technology to learn more, we are instead in an age of global crisis where there are armed conflicts happening all over the world. So it is now critical that we have a culture of harmony and interconnectedness. If we have to establish this, then we need a global tradition, which transcends all boundaries.
Slowly, people around the world are awakening to this and are looking into systems that can bring a certain unity and harmony into their lives. A system that has been spreading organically over the past few decades is yoga. Yoga is a practice that transcends boundaries and helps the individual to connect with all of life.
So how did yoga originate and how did the tradition spread? Also, to whom does yoga belong? Is it limited to a geographical region or culture?
Sadhguru, a foremost authority and living yogi explains the yogic lore:
In the yogic culture, Shiva is not known as a god, but as the Adiyogi or the first yogi – the originator of yoga. He was the one who first put this seed into the human mind. According to the yogic lore, over fifteen thousand years ago, Shiva attained to his full enlightenment and abandoned himself in an intense ecstatic dance upon the Himalayas. When his ecstasy allowed him some movement, he danced wildly. When it became beyond movement, he became utterly still.
People saw that he was experiencing something that nobody had known before, something that they were unable to fathom. Interest developed and people came wanting to know what this was. They came, they waited and they left because the man was oblivious to other people’s presence. He was either in intense dance or absolute stillness, completely uncaring of what was happening around him. Soon, everyone left…
Except for seven men.
These seven people were insistent that they must learn what this man had in him, but Shiva ignored them.
So they started preparing. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, they prepared. Shiva just chose to ignore them. On a full moon day, after eighty-four years of sadhana (spiritual practice), when the solstice had shifted from the summer solstice to the winter solstice–the Adiyogi looked at these seven people and saw that they had become shining receptacles of knowing. They were absolutely ripe to receive. He could not ignore them anymore.
They grabbed his attention.
For the first time, the entire science of how a human being can evolve into his or her ultimate possibility was taught to these seven men, the celebrated Saptarishis or Seven Sages. Adiyogi put seven different aspects of yoga into these seven different people. This became the foundation for the seven basic forms of yoga. Even today, yoga has maintained these seven distinct forms.
Adiyogi expounded these mechanics of life to the Saptarishis for many years. When all of the seven disciples had fully attained, he told them, “Go out into the world and spread this.”
Legend has it that he sent one to Central Asia, one to South America, another to North Africa and the Middle East, another to South East Asia, another came down to the lower parts of the Himalayas, which is now considered as the Indian Himalayas, one stayed with him, and the last one came to the southern part of India.
Therefore, the history and origin of yoga is an international one. Yoga originates in a global tradition. For thousands of years, from teacher to student, the teachings have been spreading across lands and cultures. The origin of yoga is not limited to a geographical region or culture. Perhaps that is why it is now so well received by an international body such as the United Nations and all the world leaders who supported the resolution. They recognize that people all over the world are enjoying the benefits of yoga. What is happening with the International Day of Yoga is a significant step for many more to enjoy the benefits and indeed, is a historic event.
Sadhguru shares why this is important for the whole world and emphasizes the need for everyone to invest considerable time and effort to explore their inner wellbeing. He explains:
Today, with the tools of science and technology we have brought ourselves to a self-threatening situation that everybody in the society needs to invest in their inner wellbeing and live with a sense of peace and joy in their hearts. Modern technology has tremendous capability for both: creating wellbeing or total destruction. Without deepening the inner experience and becoming all-inclusive individuals, it will surely bring destruction – not just to humanity, but the planet itself.
Isha Foundation is one of the organizations that have partnered with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to strategize and plan the celebration of the first International Day of Yoga in all the Indian Embassies and cultural centers worldwide.The Isha Foundation will support all the Indian Embassies worldwide to offer free yoga workshops, demonstrations and classes on the day of, and the weeks leading to June 21st, 2015.To support this worldwide effort, the Isha Foundation will have thousands of trained teachers to offer free yoga so that everyone can make use of these technologies for wellbeing.
To learn more, please visit: http://sadhguru.org/dayofyoga/.