It is a welcome move on the part of the international community that they have decided to commemorate the Yoga Day. (It may be noted that this site was named as the Vaaniyog or Speech Yoga.) It is so because to most of us in India, Yoga is a normal health regimen. We prefer health to treatment as far as possible. If some ancient scholars had found out the efficacy of a successful method of managing our health for free at our own convenience, it was no serendipity. It must have been the result of a long research and field trials. Twisting and turning the body or its organs could present problems. But the scholars who approved this form of health management must have cleared it after considering all aspects. Were it not so, Yoga would have ceased to be popular by now. On the contrary, its popularity is only growing by the day. Now that the International Yoga Day is being observed, its benefits will increase the numbers of its practitioners globally.
What exactly is Yoga? Yoga is health management. You do it all by yourself once you train from a practitioner. All of us need good health. Our life is so busy that we tend to ignore our health. Our daily routine is tough or disrupted, affecting our sleep pattern. In turn, it leads to problems of the nervous system. We tend to eat or drink what we might not need, at times when we might not be doing so. We want to exercise but we don’t have time. If we have time, we need to travel some distance to go to a club or gym or sports complex. Many of us may not be able to afford it. Yoga provides the best alternative to all these problems. You do it at home, have the convenience of your own time, save on commuting and payments to club, and save the precious time you are always short of. It is for free. It restores energy levels to you for a really hard day’s work, rejuvenates you and makes you cheerful. Nothing makes one cheerful except good health. The evidence lies in the glow on your face you can see the moment you look into the mirror. Isn’t it better than spending money on doctor fees, medicines and health products? Our health becomes a good business to others only when we ignore its management. We live longer, healthier, happier life, unlike those spending all their money on drugs and life support equipment. I see many 90 years plus laughing naturally as they are healthy and in control of their organs and senses. That is longevity. As against it, the youth today are suffering from heart problems, hypertension, kidney problems and even liver problems. Life is not meant to be wasted like this. This is a result of mismanagement of health. Yoga trains us to manage our health at no cost. Let us try.
Another aspect of Yoga is management of mental health. Modernity has succeeded in making every one of us tense and suffer essential hypertension. We wake up agitated. We start our day in tension. In Delhi at least, the English newspapers deliver such heavy and concentrated dose of tension right at 0530 in morning that it leaves the reader tense throughout the day- all negative news, made more negative by the choicest words/phrases/constructions to add punch to it. In order to achieve equanimity, we need to discard such news, especially the reporters bombarding us with negativity unintelligently. Life is a saga of struggle in this competitive environment. Our mind is hyperactive all the time. That is one reason for our disturbed sleep. Are we not entitled to a good night’s sleep? Yes, we are. The question, however, is how to get it? The answer is: Yoga. A practitioner of Yoga learns the technique of managing her mental health. We are under no obligation to allow negativity to disturb us. That is possible by healthy thinking. Positive thoughts bring cheer to the mind. The mind is at its best productivity levels when it is in a happy frame; its productivity drastically drops the moment the frame turns gloomy and depressing. Just think for a moment to replace the morning newspaper with a holy book or a classic or just a prayer. The flow of ideas, the melody of the words and the soothing effect of the narrative bring instant peace of mind. A small dose of this heavenly pleasure keeps you healthy and energetic for the next 12 hours of work & leisure. Wasn’t that the practice before modernity changed our daily routine? Today’s busy bees don’t have the time even to pray nor the mind to do so. Where from will they admit positive energy in their brain? If we were to pay a little attention to managing our mental health, we can enjoy happier moments in life. That is the magic of Yoga.
Yoga means self-control essentially. If you can exercise control over your organs, faculties, thoughts or speech, you attain the stature of a Yogi or Yogini. It is a state of physical as well as mental health in a nut shell. It is neither magic nor wonder. It is the layman’s science, the technique of the trained and the secret of good health. Health is the most precious of all possessions of any individual. It is simply a self-achievement. It is the key to happiness. It helps one attend to all other normal functions of daily life. Isn’t it worth practicing?
Update: Photos from the International Yoga Day celebrations in Delhi