On 11 December 2014, the United Nations declared 21 June as International Day of Yoga. From 2015 on, 21 June has been celebrated as the International Day of Yoga by 175 member states including Bangladesh. This year, the Indian High Commission along with almost 7,000 enthusiastic yoga lovers have observed IDY by doing different asanas of yoga at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. The theme of IDY 2019 is "Climate Action". However, International Day of Yoga has been proclaimed by UN to spread the awareness of the benefits of practising yoga.
The word "yoga" is derived from a Sanskrit word which means to unite or join or yoke. It symbolises the union of body with consciousness, and of human spirit with supreme spirit. It simply means human's union with the Divine. Yoga is an ancient form of meditation and exercise which had been practised by people around the world for thousands of years. It is a physical, mental and spiritual practice which was first originated in India. There were many artistic and concrete evidences found from the Indus valley civilisation. In that case, yoga is originally 5,000 years old. It has always been very popular with people of all ages for its multiple benefits. People prefer yoga to other forms of exercise, because yoga can be done without any equipment and by remaining within one's own place. It is weather friendly and inexpensive. It has multidisciplinary benefits.Nowadays, one of the most vital concerns of people around the world is obesity. The collective lifestyle of people has become unhealthy and unhygienic. For this reason, it is very easy to gain more weight in an unbelievably short time. Then after reaching the state of obesity, we try heart and soul to shed those extra pounds. In a weight loss journey, we try different methods. We start counting food calories. We start setting an alarm clock so that we can get up early and jog around. In these methodological ways, we lose weight. But better things never come without any kind of hazard. We lose weight to gain loose skin. Then we again find out ways to tighten our body. Yoga is the best way, in this case, to shape our loose body and restore the beauty of the skin. While doing body shaping yoga, our mind also starts cultivating positive thoughts. We feel good about ourselves. Yoga benefits us both physically and mentally.
Another salient issue is depression. People suffer from various kinds of depression. Modern science and technology have blessed us with so many useful things. The world is in our hands. Unfortunately, this small and narrowed down world has left us alone. We hardly have friends and society for sharing our individual and collective misfortunes. As a result, we suffer from internal pain. We form different psychological problems for which we cannot lead a happy and prosperous life. To get rid of it or just to cope with the situation, we consult doctors. Some doctors prescribe medication and some prescribe meditation. In my opinion, meditation is far better than medication. While meditating, we find the lost selves of our own. We understand our mind and body in a better way. Medicines are given in a worse situation. Before getting worse, we should try doing yoga. Yoga is very helpful to revive the positivity in us. You must have heard about Quantum Foundation. I attended one session, out of utmost interest, and I found it very calming and soothing for the wellbeing of our mental health.
Yoga can treat many physical and mental issues at the same time. One single asana or posture of yoga can serve multiple advantages. For example, there is a popular asana called Kapalbhati. It is a super yoga which has health benefits. Kapalbhati consists of two Sanskrit words: Kapal means skull and bhati means shining. This asana looks very easy. But it can be challenging to do it for 10 minutes at a stretch for the first time. You just need to sit straight, keep both your hands on your knees, put your concentration on your lower abdomen and start inhaling air from both nostrils speedily. While doing kapalbhati, your brain will release hormones to drive out your stress and negativity. It is also very good to get your toxin and waste out of your body. Since you can feel a continuous pressure on your belly, it will help you reduce belly fat as well. After doing it for 10 minutes, you will feel relaxed. Your mind will be fresh and your sleep will be better. So, you get both mental and physical benefits from just one yoga practice.
Yoga keeps your body fit and mind fresh. The combination of your sound body and mind will lead your soul to the way of union with the Divine. For last five years, the world including Bangladesh has been celebrating International Day of Yoga to remind everyone of the unending benefits of practising different yoga asanas. It is said that if you change your lifestyle, your life will automatically be changed for good. A 20-minute yoga session on a daily basis can help us to revive our positiveness. It will help us to maintain the fitness of our body too. So, let's include a yoga session in our daily activities. The more we get used to it, the more we will be benefited. So, do yoga, stay fit, remain happy and lead a healthy life.
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong