June 21 Is International Day of Yoga

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Did you know that there is such a thing as International Day of Yoga?

I found out about it only this week, thanks to a reader of ours, Christina Kharbertyan of Self-Realization Fellowship.

How did International Day of Yoga come about? According to its organisers:

On December 11 in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. The declaration came after the call for the adoption of June 21st as International Day of Yoga by Hon’ble Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.

summer solstice

Why the particular date? June 21 is the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This day is traditionally considered as having a special meaning in many parts of the world.

Related: 4 Guided Meditation Apps to Help You Get Started

So here we are, with a special day to dedicated to this practice which brings various health and mental benefits.

What can you do to commemorate International Day of Yoga? If you want to participate in events, visit the official website for more information. Here is a short video the organization used to promote the special day.

Alternatively, why not spend extra time doing your yoga practice and meditate a little deeper?

It’s also a good time to explore other forms of yoga, yoga meditation in particular. Here is a short guide on how to start yoga meditation, courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship.

Some quick guidelines for beginning a meditation practice:

-It is advantageous to designate a quiet, peaceful place where one can be secluded and undisturbed during meditation – a personal sanctuary exclusively for meditation practice.

-Correct posture is important, either sitting on a straight chair or cross-legged on a firm surface, and keeping the spine erect.

-The eyes should be closed, with the gaze gently lifted upward to the point between the eyebrows — the seat of concentration, and of the spiritual eye of divine perception.

-One should silently chant or mentally pray to the Divine, keeping the attention at this point, and eventually he or she will feel a deepening peace and inner joy.

Parahamansa Yogananda, founder of Self Realization Fellowship, meditating with James L. Lynn who became the 2nd President of SRF. (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, Calif.)
Parahamansa Yogananda, founder of Self Realization Fellowship, meditating with James L. Lynn who became the 2nd President of SRF. (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, Calif.)

The far-reaching benefits of yoga meditation have been extolled in volumes by Paramahansa Yogananda and by experienced practitioners. Below, we’d like to offer Yogananda’s encouraging words from Inner Peace as inspiration for both beginners and experienced meditators wanting to reignite their practice on this special day:

-“Meditation opens wide all the closed inner doors of your body, mind, and soul to admit the surge of God’s power. Your whole body and entire being changes when you practice meditation regularly. Contact with God brings inner harmony into your life as you merge with His peace.”

-“Real unending joy lies in attuning the consciousness to its true, ever calm soul nature by meditation, and in thus preventing the mind from riding on the crests of sorrow and happiness or from sinking into the depths of indifference.”

-“Through meditation one can experience a stable, silent inner peace that can be a permanently soothing background for all harmonious or trialsome activities demanded by life’s responsibilities. Lasting happiness lies in maintaining this evenly peaceful state of mind.”

This is perfect for those of us who are very busy and can barely slot in a breather on a regular basis. 10 -15 minutes are enough, and with guided meditation, you can enjoy your time even more. For guided meditations, visit this page.

What are you planning on doing?

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