Did you know that yoga has its own day? Since 2015, there has officially been an annual International Yoga Day!
This is a day that is solely dedicated to celebrating the beautiful practice of yoga that has changed so many lives in so many different ways.
First proposed by the Prime Minister of India, International Yoga Day was unanimously declared by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate yearly on June 21st.
To celebrate, we can go practice 108 Sun Salutations or sweat it out at our favorite Power Vinyasa class. And that’s all well and good. But how can we really honor and celebrate yoga and all of its deep teachings?
Here Are 5 Ways to Bring Yoga Philosophy Into Your Life This International Yoga Day (And Every Day):
Yoga philosophy is incredibly rich and widely varied. However, there are a few key principles that seem to transcend school and lineage.
So, here are just a few ways that you can incorporate yoga philosophy into your everyday life in honor of International Yoga Day and in honor of this glorious practice that we all hold so dear.
1. Honor All Life
Ahimsa is a practice that is prevalent throughout most schools of yoga philosophy. Roughly translating to non-harming or non-violence, ahimsa can be observed by honoring all life around us.
This can be as simple as sparing the mosquito that’s buzzing through your house or cutting back on eating meat so that no animal needs to suffer to satiate your hunger. But it could also mean honoring and offering gratitude for that animal that sacrificed itself for your gain.
However you choose to interpret ahimsa, it can be applied by simply honoring all that lives in some small way.
Want to learn more about ahimsa? Here’s What You Need to Know About the Yamas
2. Look Within
Meditation is at the heart of all yoga philosophy and traditions. The word yoga itself means “to yoke” or “to unite.” And this is often interpreted to mean a union of mind, body, and soul or even a union of all things with a higher power.
Essentially, meditation is yoga and yoga is meditation. And we can honor the beautiful yoga philosophy by practicing meditation earnestly.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy
By drawing our awareness inside and striving to better understand ourselves, we ultimately strive to better the world.
As Leo Tolstoy so eloquently stated, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” We can start with ourselves and send echoes of ripples out to change the world.
Need some guidance for your meditation? Practice this Guided Mindfulness Meditation for Presence, Peace and Clarity (Free Video)
3. Follow Your Dharma
Dharma is such a crucial element of all yogic teachings. This word has so many different translations and interpretations, but one is that your dharma is your path or your purpose in this lifetime.
By following whatever it is that you believe you were put on this earth for, you can honor yoga philosophy and live your life as if you have a higher purpose. And, honestly, don’t we all want to believe that there’s some bigger reason why we’re here?
Dharma isn’t just a yogic concept – it’s Buddhist too! Here’s How the Buddhist Concept of Dharma Can End All Your Suffering
While yoga’s branches run far and wide, few schools don’t acknowledge the breath as a crucial element to a deeper understanding. Our breath is our life-force (our prana) and, without it, we literally wouldn’t survive.
We can learn so much from our own breath and even the pauses between our breaths. By simply taking the time to breathe (and really deeply connecting with our breath), we can treat each day as a yogic holiday and each breath as an opportunity to dive deeper within.
Follow your breath! Practice Pranayama for Stress Relief: Use These 3 Yogic Breathing Exercises to Calm Down
5. Recognize That We Are All Connected
While it might sound super hippie-dippie and airy-fairy, the very core teachings of yoga philosophy all seem to point to one thing: a higher power that connects us all.
Some schools of yoga believe that we are one with this power and this power is one with us. Others believe that we are separate from this power but should ultimately strive to reach toward it.
The core teachings of yoga philosophy all point to one thing: a higher power that connects us all.
Whatever your belief is, you can honor this ideology by acknowledging and recognizing yourself in others and vice versa. The typical closing to a yoga class, the word “namaste,” can be translated as “I bow to that in you which is also in me.”
By recognizing our inherent oneness and interconnectedness, we can deeply honor and respect the highest teachings of yoga philosophy.
Celebrate International Yoga Day Every Day by Honoring Yoga Philosophy
While every day may not be officially declared or recognized as International Yoga Day, you can still live as your highest self daily by following the principles of yoga philosophy.
Yoga teaches us so much – about our world, about our relationships, and (perhaps most importantly) about ourselves.
Honor this beautiful practice by living and breathing the philosophy of yoga each and every day.