International Day of Yoga 2024 highlights mental and physical wellness

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In today’s busy and demanding world of work and study and handling of other stressful situations, self-care and maintenance of mental and physical health cannot be overlooked.

International Day of Yoga 2024, celebrated on June 21, 2024, brings these issues under the spotlight as captured in its theme “Yoga for self and society”.

Good physical and mental health is by far the best wealth, said Agnela Patil, a yoga teacher. She explained that it enables the holder to enjoy a full and wholesome life, which would redound to a healthier and more harmonious society.

“It goes a far way in helping to reduce the ill-effects of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety on individuals and the usual accompanying impact on their families. These, if not addressed, could negatively impact productivity at the individual level and the level of society and could be a financial burden to tackle them in the long run,” she noted.

Ms. Patil is an India-trained yoga teacher. She is a former teacher at the High Commission of India in Georgetown and has more than 12 years of experience working with groups of diverse background.

These include Army personnel, prisoners, the LGBT community, corporate enterprises, public servants and children of varying age groups. Most of these classes are conducted at the Namaste Yoga Studio, located in Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

Yoga, she noted, is an ancient Indian science geared at achieving a balanced mind and healthy body, and given its holistic benefits, its transcends known barriers in society.

“With the stresses and tensions of today’s world, it has gained international appeal, cutting across race, religion, gender and politics,” said Ms. Patil, who quickly pointed out that the theme for International Day of Yoga 2024, “Yoga for self and society” cannot be more apt.

“It is never safe to allow yourself to be consumed by work and challenges around you. Take time to focus on yourself— your mental and physical health. Yoga is a pathway to address these challenges, and naturally, a healthy body and positive mindset would result in a better and more productive society,” she said.

Former World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director, South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Singh had identified yoga as a useful tool to help relieve stress, improve immunity and build and maintain physical fitness and emotional well-being.

Yoga involves stretches (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation and relaxation.

According to Ms. Patil, one session of yoga once properly instructed improves brain function, lowers stress levels, and increases flexibility, and after a few months of practice, participants experience lower blood pressure, improved lung capacity, reduced chronic neck and back pain, relief from anxiety, lower blood sugar levels in diabetics and an improved sense of balance.

As enthusiasts the world over gear up to celebrate International Day of Yoga, she is encouraging more persons of all age groups to embrace the practice and the path to a healthier and harmonious life.

This June 21 will mark the 10th edition of International Day of Yoga. The June 21 date was proclaimed by the United Nations on December 11, 2014, and recognises the international appeal of yoga and seeks to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

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