The International Day of Yoga was celebrated at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham on June 21, 2017. In honor of the 3rd International Yoga Day, and the 30th anniversary of Amrita Yoga, students of the Gitamritam practiced Yoga at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Coimbatore. Yoga classes based on Chancellor’s Amma’s message of living from the heart have been taught at Chancellor Amma’s ashrams and centers since 1987. The Yoga Day was also celebrated at Amrita School of Pharmacy, Kochi. On this day, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s International Center for Spiritual Studies – Amrita Darshanam released the following message highlighting the importance of yoga.
Yoga is one among the six āstika-darśanas of Indian tradition, followed by people all over the world. Sage Patañjali of the 2nd century BCE, an incarnation of Lord Ananta, is believed to be the founder of this wonderful system. He has compiled the astāngayoga tradition in the form of 196 sūtras. An in depth study of the sūtras show that he has formulated the system of Yoga based on the then existed social system.
Sage Patañjali defines Yoga as ‘cittavrttinirodhah’ (inhibition of modifications of mind). The term Yoga derived from Sanskrit dhātu ‘yuj samādhau’ means Samādhi. Among the eight limbs of Yoga, Samādhi forms the eighth one. The ultimate aim of practising the system, is the attainment of Kaivalya. It is a state where the Purusa realises his separateness from the Prakrti and thereby evolves and escapes from the chain of rebirths and pains of this mundane existence. These days, practitioners have simplified and restricted Yoga to its third and fourth limbs: Āsanas and Prānāyāma.
Ādi Śankarācārya, in his commentary to yogasūtras opine that a life time practitioner of Yama and Niyama is the adhikāri of this system. Yama include non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possessiveness. Niyama include cleanliness, happiness, austerity, self-study and surrender towards God. A true aspirant should be able to practise them both physically and mentally. A true follower of the system admits and truly believes on the power of God, surrenders all his actions and worships him through Upāsana. Sage Vyāsa comments that this God can be any deity whom one worships or can be one’s own Guru. King Bhoja comments this as the easiest method to attain Samādhi and Kaivalya thereafter.