Upward-Facing Dog, Downward-Facing Dog, Peacock Pose and Lord of the Dance Pose – these are only a few yoga poses that millions of yogis (male) and yoginis (female) practice every day. But especially intensively on June 21, when we celebrate the International Day of Yoga.
June 21 was declared the International Day of Yoga as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Also that day has special significance in many other parts of the world.
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj”, which means to yoke or bind. Also it is often interpreted as a “union” or a method of discipline.
Yoga is an ancient system and philosophy, which aims to develop body, soul and spirit. The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the sacred book called Yoga Sutra an estimated 2000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. (Its naughty relative, The Kama Sutra, is also written by a Hindu philosopher. Just saying!)
According to the Yoga Journal, the book also outlines eight limbs of yoga: restraints, observances, postures, breathing, withdrawal of senses, concentration, meditation and absorption. As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach enlightenment or (samadhi).
Here in Reykjavik, celebration of the International Day of Yoga already started on June 19 as a collaboration among Harpa Conference Centre, the Icelandic Yoga Alliance and the Embassy of India in Reykjavík. There were many Yoga enthusiasts and teachers participating at the gathering outside of Harpa, introducing yoga’s signifying importance and benefit derived from it.