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The Rise of International Yoga | A wellness centre in Dubai

From Ancient Practice to Global Phenomenon: The Rise of International Yoga

The word evokes images of flowing movements, mindful breathing, and inner peace.  But did you know that this practice boasts a rich and ancient history? International Yoga Day (IYD) has become a global phenomenon, uniting millions in a celebration of this ancient practice. But how did yoga, with its roots firmly planted in the heart of India, find its way onto the world stage?

A Journey Through Time: Yoga’s Ancient Roots

Yoga’s origins are shrouded in mystery, with estimates placing its development anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago. Early references to yogic practices can be found carved into Indus Valley Civilization seals and referenced in the Vedas, ancient Indian texts dating back to 1500-500 BCE. These texts described yoga as a philosophy encompassing physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation (dhyana), and ethical principles (yama and niyama).

Over centuries, yoga evolved through the teachings of various schools, each emphasising different aspects of the practice. Hatha yoga, the most widely known form today, focuses on physical postures and breathwork to create a healthy foundation for mental and spiritual exploration.

Yoga’s Modern Journey: From East to West

For millennia, yoga remained largely confined to India and surrounding regions. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries, yoga piqued the interest of Western thinkers and spiritual seekers. Swami Vivekananda, a revered Indian monk, played a pivotal role in introducing yoga to the West in the late 19th century. His lectures and writings brought the philosophy and practices of yoga to a wider audience.

In the mid-20th century, figures like Indra Devi and B.K.S. Iyengar further popularized yoga in the West. They adapted traditional practices to suit modern lifestyles, emphasizing the physical benefits of yoga alongside its spiritual core.

From Niche Practice to Global Phenomenon: The Birth of IYD

Fast forward to the 21st century. Yoga studios began popping up worldwide, and celebrities like Madonna and Sting openly embraced the practice. The scientific community began exploring the potential health benefits of yoga, citing its positive effects on stress, anxiety, and chronic conditions.

It was in this climate of growing global interest that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a long-time yoga practitioner, proposed the idea of International Yoga Day to the United Nations in 2014. The proposal resonated deeply, and the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution declaring June 21st as International Yoga Day.

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The Ongoing Story: Yoga’s Unifying Power

Today, International Yoga Day is a vibrant global phenomenon. Millions gather in parks, squares, and yoga studios around the world to celebrate the practice. IYD transcends cultural and religious boundaries, bringing people together in a shared pursuit of well-being.

With a wellness centre in Dubai, we at WOW cater to all levels and interests in Yoga and Meditation. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a curious beginner, we have something curated for you.

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