“On the day of the summer solstice, Adiyogi, the first yogi, turned south and first set his eyes on the Saptarishis or Seven Sages, who were his first disciples to carry the science of yoga to many parts of the world.” – Sadhguru
Have you noticed all the hype surrounding yoga the past couple of weeks? All the talk, the excitement and the special deals on classes can only mean one thing: International Day of Yoga is just around the corner!
What is International Day of Yoga?
It’s a day to celebrate the history and growth of this 5,000-year-old discipline. June 21, summer solstice, is the longest day of the year and a perfect time to reflect on the spiritual, mental and physical practice of yoga. The United Nations General Assembly declared summer solstice as International Day of Yoga because of its special meaning to many international cultures.
Is it Well-Known?
With an estimated 200 million people getting ready to participate all across the globe, I’d say it’s pretty well-known. With this being a fairly new holiday, the level of participation is pretty impressive, and I think it’s safe to assume awareness of International Day of Yoga will only grow each year.
People may participate for various reasons: wellness, fitness, holistic healing, meditation, respect for ancestors and many more. Whether you’re an avid yogi or unfamiliar with the practice, International Day of Yoga could be a great time to take a class, learn about the history or even interview yoga experts to widen your knowledge of the benefits of yoga.
The Evolution of Yoga
“The only way to experience true well-being is to turn inward. This is what yoga means—not up, not out, but in. The only way out is in.” – Sadhguru
Over the past 5,000 years, people have come to recognize yoga as a prime option for holistic health, wellness and even fitness. Yoga today, especially in the western culture, looks very different from the original practice. Here’s an interesting overview of the history and transformation of yoga (special thanks to Allyson, one of our amazing writers, for this great research!):
- Vedic Period: Beginning in the year 3000 BC, yogis lived in solidarity in forests and woods. Their focus remained on enduring hardships as a way to sharpen their minds.
- Pre-Classical Yoga: At the start of the new age, roughly 2,500 years ago, the practice of yoga shifted focus to a meditative state. Yogi’s moved away from a reclusive lifestyle and into practicing in smaller groups.
- Classical: The first mention of the Eightfold Path of Yoga occurs during this period, in which people began to concentrate on what to do, what not do, how to relate to others and how to sit, breathe, withdraw, concentrate, meditate and enlighten themselves.
- Today: Since its arrival in the U.S. in the 1800s, the methodology of yoga has expanded to include practices like Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini and Strala. This expansion requires more of an active involvement, inspiring talk of adding it as an Olympic sport.
It’s incredible how something created over thousands of years ago is still impacting lives today. With International Day of Yoga approaching, we hope you’ll consider participating in yoga, either on your own, with friends or in a class. If you’re looking for a class near you, visit HealingRadius and get ready to join in this worldwide celebration!
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