The ancient traditional system of Yoga originated around 5,000 years ago, whereas the practise of yoga is believed to have started with the very dawn of civilisation.
Lord Shiva is considered the first or Adi Guru of yoga. And subsequently, great personalities and gurus like Swami Shivananda, T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Kuvalayananda, Shri Yogendara, Swami Rama, Sri Aurobindo, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Acharya Rajanish, Pattabhijois, BKS. Iyengar and Swami Satyananda Sarasvati have taken the ancient form forward and spread it across the world.
Today, yoga is considered the fastest growing form of exercise all over the world.
The two years of COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns forced the people the world over into their homes, dealing a big blow to fitness and wellness. Gyms and other forms of fitness centres were forced to close as it was believed that these were one of the few places where the virus would spread quickly due to shared machines, towels and space.
Meanwhile, due to the extended confinement both physical and mental health of people started getting affected. In such times, many turned towards yoga and started practicing it.
Yoga for all
“Yoga is magic; my breathing issues have vanished,” says 11-year-old Grandmaster Pragyat Prasun from Agartala while speaking exclusively to EastMojo.
“Since childhood, I had breathing problems. My parents consulted many doctors all over India but nothing worked. Then someone suggested that I should practice yoga on a regular basis,” Prasun added.
He started practicing yoga at the tender age of 7 as a remedial practice to overcome respiratory ailment. The curative measure soon turned into a hobby and eventually took the form of immense passion which eventually propelled him to set five world records, one Asian record and two national records at a mere age of 11. Five world records in holding various Yogasana poses for longest duration includes Bhunamanasana pose (30 Mins 50 Secs), Yoganidrasana pose (17 Mins 24 Secs), Kurmasana pose (15 Mins 50 Secs), Baddha Konasana pose (10 Mins 01 Secs) and Garbha Pindasana (24 Mins 57 Secs).
He also holds Asian as well as national records for being the youngest to hold Baddha Konasana and Kurmasana.
“Yoga has made me more patient and dedicated to everything which is helping me to score more marks,” Prasun shared.
The 11 year old is scheduled to participate in Yoga World Cup 2022, representing Tripura, in Delhi NCR on June 26 and June 27.
Echoing Prasun, Dangi Tanyang, a 21-year-old student of Arunachal Pradesh who is doing his Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Science from Shree Guru Gobind Tricentenary University, Gurugram, says, “Yoga helps me to stay active and energetic all through the day. From the last 2 years, I am regularly doing yoga; it has benefited me in every way. I am witnessing changes from both inside and outside. During the lockdown, my body went out of shape. However, now it is completely in shape and very flexible too.”
Tanyang shared that Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) is his favorite, as he believes it has improved his concentration level.
International Day of Yoga, an initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been annually celebrated since June 21, 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014.
In order to celebrate it in a grand way, this year the Union Ministry of Ayush has launched Yoga Mahotsav 2022 – a 100-day countdown for the 8th International Day of Yoga. The campaign has been organised in 100 cities and 100 organizations across the globe. It also featured 75 heritage cultural sites including historic Sivadol in Assam as part of the government’s initiative – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Celebrities into Yoga
Popular Assamese actor Nayan Nilim, speaking about the importance of Yoga, says, “Today it is a competitive era, thus, to face the challenges it is very important to maintain physical as well as mental well-being and the only way to stay fit and healthy is through the regular practise of yoga and meditation. I request the upcoming generation to kindly practise yoga regularly to keep anxiety and depression at bay and also encourage others to do yoga so that a Yoga revolution takes place in every nook and corner.”
“Let us walk hand in hand towards building a healthy society,” he added.
Yoga re-energizes our spirit: Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal
“Yoga uplifts the mind and body. It re-energizes our spirit yet keeps us calm and composed. The Bhagvad Gita has captured the essence of Yoga beautifully. That it is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self,” says Union Minister of Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal.
Further speaking on International Yoga Day’s theme ‘Yoga for Humanity’, the minister added, “As we are aware, Yoga is a practice that brings joy, health, and peace from within, and it deepens a sense of continuous connection between an individual’s inner consciousness and the external world. Yoga day is a movement of humanity to promote health, well being, and peace across the globe.”
Focusing on ‘Yoga for Humanity’, special programmes have been designed this year for specially-abled people, transgender population, women and children.
‘Yoga, a path to liberation’
Dr B Langstang, a Medical official of Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN), New Delhi, shares, “Yoga is tremendously getting popular not just in India but also in other parts of the world because it is not just a mere physical exercise. It has a spiritual aspect which guides a person to be a better human being.”
Langstang believes yoga leads to the path of liberation and helps a person to “meet the ultimate soul”. Yoga has the power to transform on how one can see the world, he said.
Dr Tokika Yepthomi, a Medical Officer-cum-Assistant Teacher at Shree Guru Gobind Tricentenary University, Gurugram, said, “It is impossible to separate Yoga from Indian traditional system of medicine. Yoga has a rich history but unfortunately it was bounded within India only. From a health perspective also, Yoga is growing rapidly so many diseases which cannot be treated with just drugs and medicine, yoga can heal them. The world has now started looking differently towards yoga and its acceptance has increased manifolds.”
Yepthomi, who provided consultation to a large number of people and also provided psycho-social support during the COVID-19 pandemic, shares that yoga has greatly helped people keep physical and mental health fit and fine during the crisis.
Also read: How dance, mindfulness can stimulate brain, improve mental health
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