Celebrating the Holistic Benefits of Yoga on International Day of Yoga

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Dr. Alisha Patel, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia

The Significance of Yoga: A Path to Harmony and Well-being

Recognized by the United Nations in 2014, the International Day of Yoga (IDY) serves as a global platform to raise awareness about the profound physical and mental health benefits of this ancient practice. Derived from the Sanskrit term “to join” or “unite,” yoga embodies the harmonious fusion of mind and body. It is an approach to holistic well-being that has gained worldwide popularity.

Yoga: A Foundation for Sustainable Wellness

Yoga encompasses a balanced approach that extends beyond physical flexibility and mental tranquility. It promotes equilibrium in all aspects of life, including the relationship between individuals and their environment. The core principles of attention, moderation, discipline, and perseverance form the bedrock of yoga practice. By integrating these virtues, yoga offers a path to sustainable living for societies and communities.

Yoga’s Therapeutic Potential

Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of yoga practices in managing various non-communicable diseases. Yogic techniques such as asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), dhyana (meditation), and relaxation techniques have proven beneficial in alleviating conditions like hypertension, COPD, diabetes, sleep disorders, depression, and obesity.

Meditation, a key component of yoga, has been found to combat stress and its associated disorders. By reducing sympathetic overstimulation and cholesterol levels, meditation enhances exercise tolerance, reduces anxiety, and improves overall well-being.

WHO’s Initiatives for Traditional Medicine

In recognition of the growing importance of traditional medicine, including yoga, the WHO has established the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar, India. Additionally, in collaboration with India during its G20 Presidency, WHO will host the first-ever Traditional Medicine Global Summit in August 2023. This landmark event will focus on the evidence-based use of traditional medicine for the health and well-being of humanity.

Embracing Yoga for a Healthier Future

On this International Day of Yoga, let us reaffirm our commitment to incorporating yoga into our lives. By embracing its holistic principles, we can strive to create a future where everyone enjoys optimal health, happiness, and stress-free living.

  • Credit: OMG I Yoga
  • Rights: OMG I Yoga
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