International Yoga Day: Local Instructor Writes About the Benefits Beyond Fitness

Today is International Yoga Day. Yoga instructor Deborah Borel reflects on the history and benefits.


The Gift of Yoga Celebrated June 21

By Deborah Borel, Yoga Instructor

On June 21, the Summer Solstice, Yoga Communities around the world from New Delhi to New York City will come together in mass gatherings to celebrate the ancient art of Yoga.  In 2014 The United Nations General Assembly recognized the invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition and established International Yoga Day.

And indeed, Yoga has become an International Force and Industry. From its ancient roots in the Indus Valley the philosophy and practice of Yoga has spread around the world.

The word Yoga comes from the sanskrit root yuj, meaning to bind, join or yoke.  It’s purpose is to train or yoke the attention of the mind in order to gain Greater Self Awareness.  Patajanli writes in his opening aphorisms, “Yoga is the control of the thought waves of the mind. Then man abides in his True Nature.”

According to the Yoga philosophy we live in a state of ignorance, unaware of our full potential. Due to lifetimes of conditioning, pain and trauma, our reactions to the world have become ingrained and limited in scope. Yoga is a gift, a tool for the Nations, to help free oneself from unconscious habits and cycles of reaction. The art of Yoga is more about undoing, than doing.  Undoing the negative mind, undoing held bodily tension releasing emotional bondage.  And awakening to our true inner potential and innate healing power.

Hatha Yoga is the most commonly practiced aspect of the Yogic System here in the states.  It incorporates, mindful action, body postures and breath work. The postures include standing, sitting, balancing, inversions, arm balances, supine poses and twists, all designed to bring over all health to the whole being. An ongoing practice strengthens the body, brings relief from countless ailments, balances the hormonal system, increases lymph flow and circulation, sharpens the intellect and aids in concentration, as it steadies the emotions.  Sound too good to be true?

Hatha Yoga has been a part of my life for over 20 years. As an aging, urban farmer I need it now more than ever.  Over the years I have carried too many buckets and emotional baggage for my own good. I am learning greater efficiency in my bucketing as well as emotional skills. The gift of Yoga has allowed this aging boomer to maintain a limber gait, all my own joints (knock on wood) and an ongoing sense of peace and optimism.  Yoga is a true gift indeed, and one that keeps giving.

So this Wednesday, I will rise and greet my goats and chickens, finish my morning chores, make a nice cup of oolong tea and join the Worldwide Community for a set of Morning Sun Salutations.

Lord knows I need it.

(Deborah Borel lives and works at Loud House Farm in south Kansas City, where she writes, tends critters & teaches Yoga and Qigong at the Yoga Barn of south Kansas City.

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