It increases flexibility, strengthens and tones muscles, balances hormones, cleanses the internal organs, calms the mind and counters stress. And now the myriad benefits of the 5000-year-old practice known as yoga are being recognised with a dedicated day that has the United Nations' stamp of approval.
Following last year's call from India's prime minister for global recognition of this holistic approach to health and well-being, the United Nations declared an International Day of Yoga to fall on 21 June every year. This year, for the first time, Brisbane will join the celebrations by hosting a fun-filled and flowing Yoga Day Festival in Roma Street Parkland.
Roma Street Parkland's lush Rainforest and Fern Gully. Image courtesy Visit Brisbane.
The Yoga Day Festival to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Yoga will be a free community event featuring asana (posture) classes, deep relaxation, pranayama (breathing exercises), kids' games and activities, live music, kirtan (yoga chanting) and deep peace meditation. The event will feature local teachers, artists, presenters and musical performers.
The event recognises that yoga is not just about exercise, says ASMY's spokeswoman Gayatri. 'Ancient yogis understood yoga as a complete lifestyle and world view that can help you to discover who you are as well as your relationship to the world and nature,' she says. 'As such (yoga) can provide valuable insights into addressing environmental challenges and promoting peace in the individual, peace in communities and peace in the world. The sages of India understood that the outer can change by changing the inner, that the nature of our consciousness therefore affects the nature of our environment.'
Down waterdragon. Image courtesy Visit Brisbane.
These views are shared by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, who said in a statement that 'yoga can contribute to resilience against non-communicable diseases', 'help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress' and contribute to development and peace.
In addition to the Roma Street Parkland event, the Yoga Day Festival will also be held on the Gold Coast and in Adelaide.
Bringing people together. Image courtesy Australian School of Meditation and Yoga.