By Dr. Gagan Bhalla
In the west, yoga has enjoyed an ever-rising popularity and acceptance for more than a century. It may appear mystifying to many that a tradition that traces its roots back to thousands of years and one that lays emphasis on spiritual rather than the material should find such tremendous resonance in a society that is quintessentially at the opposite end of the spiritual-material spectrum.
However, this seeming paradox has a simple and straightforward answer. In societies where materialism has held sway for hundreds of years, and scientific determinism has become a prevailing dogma, many fundamental answers about the individual’s mind, body and soul have, while over analysed, remained unanswered or unaddressed.
And that is where yoga, mindfulness and well being acquire importance. This is because material well being doesn’t automatically lead to mental equilibrium. As the adage goes, “Wealth is not happiness.” The extra bit that would satiate the mind and soul and enrich the body can be provided by yoga.
Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science for healthy living. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ meaning to join. According to yogic scriptures, the practice of yoga leads to the union of an individual’s consciousness with the universal consciousness.
According to scientists, everything in the universe is a manifestation of the same quantum firmament. One who experiences this oneness of existence is said to be ‘in yoga’ and is termed as a yogi who has attained a state of freedom, referred to as mukti, nirvana, kaivalya or moksha.
Yoga refers to an inner science comprising of a variety of methods through which human beings can achieve union between the body and mind to attain self-realization. The aim of yoga practice is to overcome all kinds of sufferings that lead to a sense of freedom in every walk of life with holistic health, happiness and harmony.
Yoga expects two Ds from the practitioner – dedication and discipline, everything else can be self-taught. As the Indian Prime Minister Honourable Narendra Modi has said, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well being. Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and Nature. By changing out lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us to deal with climate change.”
Yoga has the ability to change our perspectives of life, develop more keenness for life, genuine and natural sense of good feelings, renewed sense of health and well-being. Its therapeutic approaches and principles represent the essence of a broad holistic dimension to health and disease.
The practice of yoga facilitates mind and body coordination, emotional equanimity, intellectual clarity to its practitioners. Today, as the importance of yoga in every aspect of life is realized, more practitioners or yoga are looking for deeper understanding and philosophical bases of yoga and its practices.
Following the establishment of 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, millions of people globally have been participating in the yoga day celebrations. In the second International Day of Yoga, as many as 192 UN member countries participated, an unrivaled record for any event celebrated on a global scale.
For the third International Day of Yoga, the International Yoga Day Canada (IYDC), a Canadian not-for-profit is organizing one of the biggest yoga events in North America, with 10,000 practitioners of yoga expected to participate in the program that will be led by the world-renowned Yogrishi Baba Ramdev in the morning and Sister Shivani in the evening.
This is a golden opportunity to participate in a program that will benefit you and your mind, body and soul.
Renowned orthodontist and stalwart community leader Dr. Gagan Bhalla is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Yoga Day Canada. International Yoga Day Canada will be celebrated on Sunday, June 25 at the International Centre in Mississauga. The morning session of Yoga will be led by Baba Ramdev of Patanjali Yogpeeth and the evening session of Rajyog meditation will be led by Sister Shivani of Brahma Kumaris. For more information and registration details visit www.iydc.ca