“Today is the International Day of Yoga. Previously people did not need to have a special day for yoga because yoga was part and parcel of their lives. Unfortunately now we need a special day to remind us to perform yoga, just as we need a day to remember our mother and father.
“In the olden days, people would wake up in the morning, bow down to mother Earth and then, facing the sun, they would chant prayers and perform Surya Namaskarah.
Today in many countries, six or seven out of ten people have a Vitamin D deficiency. It is postulated that a Vitamin D deficiency may be one of the precipitating factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Some may argue that even people with a normal Vitamin D level can get Alzheimer’s disease. This is true, but studies have shown that the majority of people with this disease have a Vitamin D deficiency. It is also thought to be a cause of depression, which may be why the incidence of depressive disorders is higher in countries that have less sunlight.
“Yoga is beneficial for our health, physical beauty and mental discipline. It reduces cholesterol levels and maintains cardiac health. It increases bone strength, now especially important as the incidence of arthritis and osteoporosis is on a steep rise. It improves memory.
“It is important to do a balanced exercise for at least ten minutes a day. Along with this, we also need at least 10 minutes of sun exposure per day. Nowadays people go from their air-conditioned homes to air-conditioned cars, and from air-conditioned cars to their air-conditioned office. That’s not much exposure to a natural environment. People tell Amma that they have bought a fifty thousand dollar car for their child to drive two miles to a gym, where they spend a thousand dollars a year for gym membership. This sounds funny but it is not so uncommon. It would be good to just walk to the gym. If people would walk outside in a park for two miles a day or even less, they wouldn’t need to spend all this money, and they would benefit from the fresh air and sunlight–all in all, a healthier life. Not only that, they would conserve fuel and reduce harmful emissions, thereby helping to protect the environment.
“Too much of anything is a problem. Many people in tropical countries are suffering from heat stroke and skin cancer. So we need to strike a balance.
Yoga also creates powerful spiritual vibrations. These vibrations affect us and others. It is as if we had entered a perfume factory. Even after emerging, the sweet fragrance will remain on our body, pleasing both to ourselves and others. When we perform yoga with complete awareness, it purifies each and every cell in our body.
“To sum up, the purpose of yoga is for our inner well-being. It does not belong to any particular faith or religion. It was passed on to us by the ancient seers for the well-being of humanity. Yoga helps us to reconnect with nature and eventually become one with God.”
While special celebrations were held in honor of the first International Day of Yoga, Amma has long demonstrated her commitment to preserving the tradition of yoga and making it accessible to all. Yoga has been taught for many years at her primary, secondary, and university-level educational institutions (totaling more than 100,000 students nationwide), as well as in annual youth camps and in regular Amrita Yoga classes at Amritapuri.
On this International Day of Yoga, Amma shared Her insights on the benefits of yoga, while one of Her disciples guided attendees of her program in Santa Fe in simple yoga exercises.
At Amma’s schools, ashrams, centers and satsang groups all over the world, special yoga sessions were held to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of yoga.
Author: Amrita Yoga
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