Namast'ay in bed? Not exactly
How India's Prime Minister Modi bent over backwards to campaign for International Yoga Day.
July 21 was declared International Yoga Day by the United Nations after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned for it.
Yoga is a major part of Hindu practice, and being that India is a primarily Hindu state, the exercise plays a huge part in Indian culture.
However, yoga has spread beyond the borders of India and is practiced by many around the world. Being that the closest I get to yoga is the Yogi instagram accounts I follow (Read: @kinoyoga), I wondered what is so special about it that the UN would dedicate an international day of celebration to the practice.
Turns out practicing yoga can provide a lot more than some killer flexibility. On the science end of things, research from the University of Illinois has shown that yoga is good for the brain. Even just a 20-minute session showed that it stimulated brain function, specifically by improving one’s ability to retain new information and maintain focus.
But the reasoning behind the UN and Modi’s desire to have a day for the world to go into the downward dog pose is because of the peaceful state associated with yoga.
According to the Associated Press, Modi told participants:
One of the key phrases used in yoga sessions is, “Namaste.” It is Hindu that roughly translates to “I bow to the divine in you.” It is a core practice of yoga that goes to show a mindset of respect for one another-- which is a sentiment I think the world could use a little more of.
Public yoga events in honor of the day were set up in over 30,000 places in India’s state of Gujarat alone. The New Delhi event set a world record having the most people attend a single yoga class (just a mere 35,000 people).
The day was celebrated all over the world, however, the awesome statistics and photos weren't the only points of the day.
I’m no expert, but it seems that the goal of yoga is to find your inner peace and harness that zen as a lifestyle. Some may say it’s a bunch of fluff, but the meditation is just as much a part of yoga as the exercise. Modi said that he wanted to bring yoga some international attention because it can help us get to a more peaceful state as a society.
It might be a stretch to say that yoga is the answer to bringing world peace (haha stretch, get it?). BUT, I say that any and everything I can do to play my part as a global citizen is worth a try. So excuse me while I sign-off to go Google some yoga classes!