5 Reasons Why I Find The 1-Day Wonder Of International Yoga Day Problematic

Posted: June 21, 2019

While I appreciate the effort made to popularise Yoga on International Yoga Day, I hope the enthusiasts take it beyond that one day / one week celebration.

My usual morning routine. I am sitting in my balcony after my daily pranayama and meditation. It’s around 7 am and I am now craving for the morning newspaper. I open the main door, take out the newspaper clumsily tucked in the door handle. As soon as I open the paper, all the pamphlets placed in the folds randomly fall out.

I reluctantly pick them all and head towards the bin when suddenly I notice a glossy paper in the lot.

‘Experience Yoga with Zumba in a fun way…this #InternationalYogaDay. For registrations, call at the given number.’

“Wait, what?” I ask myself.

I take a deep breath (much longer and deeper than any of my anulom vilom sessions) and SIGH!

Let it go…

An hour later my phone beeps. It’s a WhatsApp message from a close friend.

‘Wanna try?’ says the text, followed by a poster, full with images of candles and flowers. It reads…

‘(So and so) spa gives exclusive 20% off to women this International Yoga Day. Come, experience a light yoga session by the celebrity fitness coach (so and so), followed by the spa of your choice. Offer applicable only on 21st June on a minimum spend of Rs 1500.’

I am flabbergasted. I take the liberty of replying to my good friend and write, “Let’s chuck yoga. Go for drinks instead? What say?”

I receive no reply…

For a person who has been practicing yoga for nearly 20 years now (I am no expert at it though); I find no fun in such ad hoc arrangements. Can we really pack the essence and beauty of yoga in one day? I must admit that even after being in this journey for such a long period, it is as enticing and interesting for me as it was on day one. I am on a constant learning journey and can never master it – at least not in this lifetime.

I have nothing against the creative minds who are trying to propagate this age-old science to the masses. In fact, it is great! But why sensationalize and convert it into a marketing gig?

I can easily say that on any given day, I would like to practice yoga. I feel lazy for my walks, skip the weight training sessions and have been avoiding runs for several months now. But with yoga, I share a different relationship. While being on this path I have evolved every day and have had some great learnings on my way. Here are some of those…

More than just a physical exercise

Those stretches, breathing, and focus is not just ‘another’ part of your fitness routine. It is more than that. The word ‘yoga’ means union and it certainly brings the body and mind in unison. This harmonious relationship could only be experienced and not explained. Those who are already practicing it for some time would understand that it brings a pleasant balance in our lives – with better ability to concentrate and persevere.

It is forgiving

It is such a simple routine that anyone…just anyone could fit in. Any good yoga practitioner would not push you to stretch beyond limits. It’s accommodating, gives you space and time to grow. I still remember when my first yoga teacher used to say, “Do as much as you can. There’s no hurry.” It was so liberating.

Your perspective changes

Though this is my personal experience and this may vary for others – but my perspective has tremendously changed with yoga. These simple techniques bear immense power to help you handle situations with ease. Be it the asana or the mudras, every move helps you surrender to the flow of life and makes you grateful for the small and big joys.

Touches every aspect of your life and lifestyle

Many people start yoga to shed those extra pounds or take better control of emotions or to help treat ailments. The real impact is much more. As you delve deeper into this fabulous world, you gain control of your emotions. This is the biggest win. The energy spent on wasted thoughts is reduced significantly. That feeling of rush, unnecessary competition, and actions driven by ego dissipate.  You change, your life changes, of course for better.

Those night cravings for a scoop of ice cream?

The irritation at last minute work in the office?

Meltdown when your child throws tantrums?

Give some time. You’ll be able to handle all of this better.

Sure, if you want to see the results in a week or so; then yoga is not for you. It could bring different benefits for different people but it’s certainly not a quick fix.

Yoga is far beyond a one-day celebration

Dedicating a specific day to celebrate and honor this age-old practice is certainly a welcome move. It is amazing to see that so many people are now aware of benefits received from yoga and several of them are also practicing it.

However, real transformation is only possible when we embrace it and make it a part of our lifestyle. Yoga is a journey, to help us focus on our strengths, thereby eliminating our limitations. Let’s not limit it to only a day… let’s explore it to the fullest. Before it is only reduced to a glitzy affair…

Image source: Biswarup Ganguly [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons 

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