I congratulate Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the United Nation’s declaration of World Yoga Day. It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without state patronage. Yoga has existed so far almost like an orphan. Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world.
India is the land where yoga was born and we must finally take the responsibility to spread it everywhere, starting from classrooms. This will help young people to move away from gun culture and violence.
Yoga is a lifestyle and should not be mistaken for only asanas. A disease-free body, quiver-free breath, stress-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, obsession-free memory, ego that includes all, and soul which is free from sorrow are the signs of a perfect yogi. As Krishna said in the Bhagvad Gita, “Samatvam Yoga Ucyate” – equanimity in the individual is a sign of yoga.
When Art of Living programs started in the early 80s, yoga was seen as being practiced by freaks and Himalayan yogis standing upside down or on one leg. That is one of the reasons why we called our program, the Art of Living, a generic term that people could relate to across races, religions and cultures. It was Paramhansa Yogananda, and then Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who brought respectability to yoga in the West. In the last 3 decades, the Art of Living has taken yoga to 152 countries and has 26,000 yoga teachers worldwide.