The purpose of International Day of Yoga is to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practising Yoga. Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
At our Yoga Camp on Sunday, 21 June, our Camp Organisers arranged items on the programme to remind us of the benefits of this practice. There are different kinds of Yoga practices, but the goal aimed at by all is the same—it is to attain union with the eternal Supreme Being. Following the morning chanting and meditation, camp attendees had an invigorating Yoga Asana session, conducted by trained Hatha Yoga guides. Hatha Yoga is one of the most perfect systems of physical exercise, developed by the Rishis of India to keep the body fit for the practice of the various Yogas. Many of the myths about Yoga were dispelled by our presenters. People feel that Yoga is about standing on your head, or on one leg or living alone in a cave or forest. They feel that this is a mysterious set of practices that are practised by people who are mad. Nothing is further away from the truth. Yoga is for the sane. Yoga is for those who wish to enjoy peace of mind by merging in God.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda says that Yoga is for the whole world, regardless of religious beliefs, age, etc. Yoga can be practised in our homes and our homes can be transformed into Himalayan caves of peace and bliss, says our Divine Master. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us that it is more heroic to practise Yoga in the midst of activities than by permanent seclusion. Camp attendees were also treated to an excellent discourse on the Bhagavad Gita. The concept of Nishamya Karma Yoga was explored. Selfless service without expecting any praise for one’s actions is the road to sainthood and peace of mind. An informative talk on Agnihotra and its benefits was given by a senior devotee who personally enjoyed the effects of this practice for many years. Agnihotra is a healing fire that has its roots in the ancient science of Ayurveda. It is a process whereby the atmosphere is purified through an especially prepared fire performed exactly at sunrise and sunset.
Pujya Swamiji Sahajananda said at a Yoga Camp in August 1983, “The highest Yoga is the Yoga of surrender. You should surrender everything to God, your worst and your best. That is real surrender. You must surrender your past, your present and your future; all your good and bad actions. Then God will take them away. But if you cling to the thought of the past then God cannot take them away from you because you are clinging to them.” Ten years later, at a Yoga Camp on 11 August 1993, Pujya Swamiji once again emphasised this all-important Yoga, “That means if you know how to surrender, the Divine will enter into you and do your Sadhana for you, even though your nature is not perfect.”