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 June 21 as International Day of Yoga


The United Nations General Assembly  adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga'. This comes less than three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea.

It was introduced by India's Ambassador to the United Nations Asoke Mukerji today and had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any resolution in the 193-member UN Genral Assembly. This is also for the first time that such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days.

Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being," PM Modi had said. n suggesting June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, PM Modi had said that the date, one of the two solstices, is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.

  What is Yoga?

Yoga is considered to be the ultimate way of attaining liberation (Moksha) from worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara). Yoga entails mastery over the body, mind, and emotional self, and transcendence of desire. It is said to lead gradually to knowledge of the true nature of reality. The earliest written accounts of yoga appear in the Rig Veda, which began to be codified between 1500 and 1200 BCE.  Images of a meditating yogi from the Indus Valley Civilization are thought to be 6 to 7 thousand years old. The first full description of the principles and goals of yoga are found in the Upanisads, thought to have been composed between the eighth and fourth centuries BC. The Upanisads are also called Vedanta since they constitute the end or conclusion of the Vedas (the traditional body of spiritual wisdom).

In Bhagavad Gita Krishna describes the following yogas:
(1) Karma yoga, the yoga of "action" in the world.
(2) Jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge and intellectual endeavor.
(3) Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion to a deity.
(4) Raja yoga, the yoga of meditation.

The classic description of yoga is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali presents the goal of yoga as 'the cessation of mental fluctuations' (cittavrtti nirodha), an achievement which gives rise to the possibility of stable meditation and thus deeper states of absorption (dhyana or samadhi).

|योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध:|
(yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ) - /Yoga Sutras/ 1.2
  It means Yoga (union)  is to block or restraint (Nirodhah) the modifications ( Vritti )  of the  mind (Chitta). 

In the 3rd Sutra  of Patanjal Yoga Sutras is
. || Tada Drastu Swaroope Awasthanam ||3 ||

Then the seer is established in his real or true (original) state or nature. This state is the aim or ultimate goal of Yoga.
 Patanjali's Yoga Sutras  sets forth eight "limbs" of yoga practice. The eight are:
(1) Yama (The five "abstentions"): violence, lying, theft, (illicit-) sex, and possessions 
(2) Niyama (The five "observances"): purity, contentment, austerities, study, and surrender to god 
(3) Asana: This term literally means "seat," and originally referred mainly to seated positions. With the rise of Hatha yoga, it came to be used of these yoga "postures" as well. 
(4) Pranayama: Control of prāna or vital breath 
(5) Pratyahara ("Abstraction"): Reversal of the sense organs 
(6) Dharana ("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object 
(7) Dhyana ("Meditation") 
(8) Samadhi: Super-conscious state or trance (state of liberation)    

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