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International Yoga Day: Embrace the Harmony Within

As the world marks International Yoga Day on June 21st, under the theme ‘Yoga for Self and Society’, Prema Arun, Founder of Yoga City and Clinical Yoga Therapist, underscores the benefits of yoga for mind, body and community, in the following article.

By Prema Arun

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Yoga, as both a personal practice and a societal influence, holds profound benefits. On a personal level, it enhances physical health, mental clarity, and emotional balance through postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Societally, yoga fosters community, compassion, and mindfulness, promoting harmony and interconnectedness among individuals.

Self-transformation in yoga occurs through a combination of physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), and meditation. Here’s how it happens:

  1. Physical aspect (Asanas): Practicing yoga postures helps to strengthen and purify the body. Asanas improve flexibility, balance, and endurance, which can contribute to overall physical health. This physical improvement can lead to increased confidence and a more positive self-image.
  2. Breath control (Pranayama): Yoga emphasizes conscious breathing techniques (pranayama) that help to calm the mind and energize the body. Deep, rhythmic breathing improves oxygenation, reduces stress, and enhances mental clarity. This aspect of yoga can lead to greater emotional stability and resilience.
  3. Mental and emotional aspect (Meditation and mindfulness): Yoga includes practices such as meditation and mindfulness, which cultivate self-awareness and inner peace. Regular meditation helps to quiet the mind, reduce negative thought patterns, and develop a deeper understanding of oneself. Through these practices, individuals often experience increased compassion, patience, and emotional balance.
  4. Integration and holistic growth: By integrating physical and mental practices, yoga facilitates holistic growth and transformation. Self-transformation in yoga is a gradual process that involves self-reflection, discipline, and openness to change. As individuals deepen their practice, they may experience profound shifts in perspective, priorities, and behaviors, leading to a more balanced and harmonious life.

    Yoga can be a powerful tool for community building. Practicing yoga together creates a shared experience that fosters a sense of unity and belonging among participants. This shared experience can break down barriers and create connections between individuals who may not otherwise interact.

    Yoga is accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels. This inclusivity encourages diversity within communities, allowing individuals from different walks of life to come together and participate.

    Yoga cultivates mindfulness and empathy, which are essential qualities for building strong communities. By practicing mindfulness together, individuals can develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for one another.

    Yoga is known to reduce stress and promote relaxation. In communities where stress levels may be high due to various factors, practicing yoga together can help alleviate tension and create a more supportive environment.

    Yoga promotes a healthy lifestyle, including physical fitness, mental well-being, and mindful eating. Communities that practice yoga together often support each other in making healthier choices, which can lead to overall improved community health.

    Yoga classes and communities often become support networks where individuals can share their challenges and successes, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
    Yoga classes provide opportunities for social interaction before and after sessions, which helps build friendships and strengthen community ties.

    Overall, yoga’s emphasis on unity, inclusivity, mindfulness, and health makes it a valuable tool for community building, fostering connections that can contribute to a more cohesive and supportive society. On the occasion of 10th International Day of Yoga 2024, let us wish everyone a happy International Yoga Day to ‘Breathe deeply, love fully and live freely’.