These days everyone seems to have turned into fitness enthusiasts. People join the gym, they run, they walk, cycle and even swim. It’s been proven that exercise coupled with a healthy diet is good for the body and soul. However, not all want to practice strenuous exercise activities or simply cannot for other health reasons. This is where practicing yoga comes into play. And today, the 21st of June, we learn about and celebrate International Yoga Day.
Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline
People practice yoga for a number of reasons. For some it is a means of learning to control one’s breath, others use it for peace of mind and some also do it for therapeutic reasons. In Vedic Sanskrit, yoga means “to add”, “to join”, “to unite”, or “to attach” in its most common literal sense. It also could take on meanings such as connection, contact or union. The term yoga itself is a blanket for many forms and kinds of yoga. Each position or asana in yoga is designed to target different body parts, external as well as internal. Pranayama is the art of control over breathing. An excellent practice for people that suffer from respiratory issues like asthma and sinusitis.
Yoga is believed to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, most likely having developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, during ancient India’s ascetic and śramaṇa movements. Others say it is as old as civilization, however, there is no hard evidence to support this. The earliest archaeological evidence of Yoga’s existence could be found in stone seals which depict figures of Yoga Poses.
International Yoga Day
While yoga may have begun in India, today people all over the world practice it in a bid for health and relaxation as well as to get spiritual enlightenment.
International Yoga Day is now celebrated every 21st of June since it was declared so by the United Nations General Assembly. The 21st of June was selected as International Yoga Day by virtue of being the longest day in the Northern hemisphere and having a special significance at various places. Until about 4 years ago, however, India did not celebrate any special day dedicated to yoga. The idea of having an International Yoga Day came from our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly.
On today’s 4th International Yoga Day, over 60,000 people are expected to join PM Modi in performing yoga in Dehradun. The day will also be celebrated everywhere else in the country in a big way. Delhi was also to have 10,000 yoga enthusiasts participate in a massive group. This year’s theme for International Yoga Day is ‘Yoga for Peace’.
Yoga in Goa
Yoga is also practiced in Goa. During the tourist season, many come to Goa specifically for this purpose. North Goa even has special yoga schools, usually run by foreigners who give classes to anyone who wishes to practice this form of therapeutic exercise. It is so popular with foreigners that some hotels also organize yoga retreats on their grounds.
There are any number of yoga retreats in Goa that offer decent deals. Most of these are residential programmes and even the food served is vegetarian. Hatha yoga is probably the most popular form of yoga practiced in Goa.
Check the below link for a selection of yoga schools and retreats available in Goa.