International Yoga Festival 2016: Winning Hearts all Over the World

International Yoga Festival 2016 (the one organized by Parmarth Niketan and Garhwal Vikas Nigam Ltd.) kicked off at Rishikesh on March 1 and continued till March 7. It then continued in Haridwar for four days – concluding on March 11. The weekend Yoga classes (on Saturdays and Sundays) will continue till April 30 though.

On December 11, 2014, the United Stations declared June 21 as the World Yoga Day – making it a proud moment for India and recognizing the transformative power of this alternative lifestyle that is thousands of years old.

As many as 175 countries co-sponsored the resolution - which is the highest number of co-sponsors for any UNGA Resolution of such nature. The first-ever International Day of Yoga was observed in 2015 when 35,985 people (including PM Modi and dignitaries from 84 countries) performed 21 Yoga Asanas on Rajpath in New Delhi.

Press Information Bureau Director General Frank Noronha tweeted that 192 countries in the world (except Yemen) observed World Yoga Day.

There are many Yoga styles. Some of the popular ones are:

1. Ashtanga Yoga: This one is a bit athletic and demands practice. Continued practice can lead you to acquire attentive non-attachment to all aspects of your life. You learn to observe - without holding onto things or rejecting them.

2. Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga: Physically challenging, it is done in a heated room. It is said to give you a sense of freedom, peace of mind, face emotional and philosophical challenges, and helps you to discover your personal power.

3. Bikram Yoga: Again done in a hot room, it includes floor postures as well as standing poses to enhance your mental and physical fitness - and to connect you with your Inner Self.

4. Ishta Yoga: Said to be the Integrated Science of Hatha Yoga, Tantra and Ayurveda, it uses meditation, breathing exercises and cleansing techniques along with body postures to balance all our aspects and create a strong platform for spiritual growth.

5. Iyengar Yoga: Focusing on proper alignment and basic structure of body postures, it often uses props for beginners. It is said to enhance once's strength, flexibility and awareness about body.

6. Jivamukti Yoga: It uses asanas, eclecting music, breathing exercises, meditation and chanting from scriptures to focus on one's spiritual development.

7. Kundalini Yoga: It uses some challenging breathing exercises, mantras, mudras and vigorous bdy movements to awaken your Kundalini energy - the psycho-energy that leads to our spiritual transformation.

Yoga is an alternative lifestyle and treatment method that can lead to a diabetes-free, hypertension-free, asthma-free and obesity-free world.

“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.” ― Amit Ray

Yoga is an alternative lifestyle and treatment method that can lead to a diabetes-free, hypertension-free, asthma-free and obesity-free world. This year too, the entire world is expected to join in the International Yoga Festival on June 21.