I am so proud to be celebrating International Yoga Day with you all!
In 2014, the WHO declared June 21st International Yoga Day. AYUSH (the Indian Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) made vast arrangements for the first day on June 21, 2015 to honour and recognize the amazing wealth of knowledge of Yoga and Ayurveda and their broader traditions as self healing and community healing tools that originated, were developed and practiced for thousands of years in India. This cultural heritage was handed down by teachers to students and parents to children, from generation to generation, and held by wisdom keepers who memorized information and chanted scriptures to preserve this orally, even through the colonial periods. I honour my Gurus and my parents who all contributed to passing various aspects of this tradition on to me and that I am so grateful to be able to share with all of you and the people in my life. Immense gratitude.
Mothers are our first teachers and the mothers and aunts and grandmothers within my family held much knowledge about food, seasons, healing rituals, folklore and ceremony. They also held the dinacharya, the important flow of the day, which has many healing benefits. I honour all of the mothers and grandmothers as they hold and pass on tradition. After the Independence of India, we have been re-building these cultural systems to continue to teach and pass on this heritage. And as we do so and as we continue to teach all across the world, it is important to remember those who held this wisdom and passed it on to us, from the earliest teachers onward.
We respect and honour them by giving students access to the holistic practice and contemplation of Yoga, not just small fragments here and there. It is important to acknowledge where the quotes come from – to acknowledge those source teachings. With respect and dedication, whoever practices and trains sincerely can take part in the sharing of holistic Yoga. We as Akhanda Yoga teachers from around the world can also play an important role in giving people in diverse communities access to Yoga and Yoga Wisdom. Everybody has the right to share in this spiritual journey regardless of country, creed, colour, gender, age or ability. This is the birthright of humanity.
For thousands of years, this has been taught in the Vedic and Upanishadic scriptures:
Vasudhev kutumbakam – The whole world is indeed one family (Maha Upanishad 6.71-73)
Isha vasyam idam sarvam — God is ever-present within all, everywhere. (Isha Upanishad 1)
Prana sedam vashe sarvam — Prana is available to every equally, everywhere. (Prashna Upanishad – 2.13)
Hari Om Tat Sat!