The world celebrates it’s very first “International Yoga Day” on June 21, 2015. Yes, another day added to the list of many days that we celebrate all around the year. A day that is now stamped by the UN (United Nations). I hope that makes it a bit more interesting for you. As a piece of trivia, you can find the list of all international days declared by the UN (http://www.un.org/en/sections/observances/international-days/). Now, you might be on either side of the fence when it comes to celebrating “International days”, but let me tell you why I am excited about “International Yoga Day” specifically, and why do I care, or why you should.
People have interpreted Yoga in millions of different ways, and have also tried copyrighting it’s sequences. As crazy as it sounds, it is true. Don’t believe me? Check out Bikram Yoga (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikram_Yoga) and Yoga piracy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_piracy). I have been practicing yoga for a little over half a decade now. I have also been teaching yoga as a life coach and trainer. Having said that, I consider myself just a small speck in the huge universe of Yoga practitioners and teachers to pass my judgement. Yoga is awesome. Period. Here’s why.
1. Flexibility matters: In a world where fitness culture is all the more vibrant, and everyone wants to look their best what we have forgotten are the benefits of a flexible body. No, I do not want to conjure up images of a twisted body indulging in a complicated asana, but that would be wonderful too. As we age, a lot changes in our bodies. We lose strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness to name a few. If I have to prioritize these in the order of importance, it will be flexibility, cardio and strength. There is no better way to work on all the three than yoga. The more flexible you are, the less likely will you incur injuries. Even professional athletes have prolonged their careers by engaging in flexibility training using the principles of yoga.
2. Breathing the cure: On an average, a person at rest takes about 12-20 breaths (inhalation-exhalation cycle) per minute, ~960 breaths an hour, ~23040 breaths a day, ~8,409,600 a year. Assuming you live until 80 you would have had ~672,768,000 breaths in your lifetime. That’s pretty staggering, isn’t it? Of all those inhalations and exhalations, the most powerful one was right at the time of birth. Your lungs were filled with fluid, until it was replaced by oxygen from the air. A phenomenal mechanism. In the lives we live today, fast and furious, stress has taken it’s toll. Our breathing is now shallow ,and that means less oxygen in and less carbon dioxide out. That by itself leads to a lot of physiological problems. Yoga, solves that problem for us. It makes our bodily systems intelligent in the use of oxygen, and increases our breathing capacity. People around the globe have cured chronic conditions like asthma and coughing through breathing benefits of yoga.
The study and practice of yoga is a journey that will change your life for the better. You can always choose how much time you put in it, but finding time each day is key. The benefits will be incremental and will transform you, literally. All you have to be ready for, is a big breath in, and a big breath out. Inhale the strength and exhale the stress. On this yoga day, just “yoga it out”.