This Friday 21st June is International Yoga Day (Yoga Day), the 5th of its kind having been introduced in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN address put forward the date as it had symbolic meaning with being the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice.
Yogis all over the world will gather together in a shared devotion to the ancient practice which has origins in India. There will be different classes, events and celebrations happening to mark the special day. Thousands of yogis will be stretching, saluting to the sun, meditating and om-ing in harmony with the rhythms of nature and their love of yoga.
And it’s no wonder too that yoga is gaining in momentum, and its popularity is spreading wide and fast. An estimated 300,00 to 460,000 people now practise yoga in the UK alone, and organisations such as the British Wheel of Yoga, which is recognised by the Sports Councils as the national governing body for yoga in the UK are providing thorough training for keen and inspired practitioners. Yoga, with its myriad of health benefits now supports various health care providers.
Here are 5 reasons why we yogis so passionately care:
1. Yoga creates an instant feel-good, and students often leave feeling more relaxed, clear-headed and calmer than before. Similarly to having a massage, you can come away lighter, taller and more energised yet calm.
2. The yoga space provides a physical refuge and a space ‘to be’, rest and recuperate away from all the stresses and pressures of everyday living. Whether it’s family concerns, busy work schedules or feeling over-teched.
3. Being in a warm, nurturing space can help you to feel and release emotions in a safe environment. When you feel anger, joy, happiness or sadness etc, the yoga room supports your ability to truly ‘feel’ and be where you are with less fear or overwhelm.
4. Mindful attention to your self and inner landscape can help to develop self-awareness. By slowing things down and focusing on your breath and the movements, you are then able to go more slowly into your day and therefore make more considered choices.
5. By practising yoga, you can gain compassion and acceptance towards yourself, and others. Coming to a yoga class helps you to feel part of a community, even if its just with the support of your teacher. You can find more ease in your self and then in shared community and spaces.
There has been great progress with yoga coming into health care and the UK National Health Service. The Yoga in Health Care Alliance (YIHA), a social enterprise enabling the NHS to provide yoga to its patients are doing tremendous work in bridging the gap between yoga teachers and the NHS. Since there is now increasingly more science-based research taking place on the benefits of yoga for society, we’re able to rely on something more sturdy and therefore convincing. Yoga is gaining recognition for both prevention and management of different health conditions.
“The time is right for the UK to set an international example and become the first nation to fully embed yoga into the national healthcare system. While there’s still work to do, we’ve made some excellent progress.” Yoga in the NHS, The Minded Institute
We care about yoga and the advancements we’re seeing of bringing yoga into health care and education because we yogis hold a shared vision for what society, and the world could be like if more people were to experience its benefits. Its once perhaps over-idealistic portrayal is now very realistic and grounded in science. It’s happening! The message of yoga is spreading, and there’s no stopping it.
Want to celebrate Summer Solstice in Liverpool? Squash cafe on Windsor street is welcoming the community from dawn 4.30am for a celebration including yoga, a gong bath and free breakfast. Info here