Guest column: Yoga yogi-fies, not Modi-fies

  • Priya S Tandon, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2016 14:45 IST
Yoga Day is going to be celebrated in a lot many places in India with participation running into thousands. (HT Representative Image)

Ting- ting, ting- ting,... it’s the alarm, telling you to wake up, get up, and get going. Come 6am and I am in a group practice for International Yoga Day coming up on June 21. I do my asanas and pranayama as a cool breeze fans my sweating brow. Bhramri pranayama is my favourite; the vibration it causes within makes me feel in resonance with the cosmic energy.


The Prime Minister is going to be in town for this global event. Chandigarh is gearing up for it and the enormity of it overawes me. Yoga Day is going to be celebrated in a lot many places in India with participation running into thousands. People in 192 countries participated last year. The number is bound to get bigger. What an amazing idea! Emotive, all-embracing! What an execution! I have travelled the world; not in my living memory has there been a Prime Minister anywhere who has cared about the small issue of the physical and mental well-being of people. We have MNCs that spend a fortune to buy health insurance for their employees but does any company emphasise on healthy living actually? Does any head of organisation teach its workers about good breathing?


My mind wanders off to a time when I had learnt Jyoti Meditation, in which one is taught to visualise the pure flame in the mid-brow. Imagine that the light moves to each limb of the body to purify, strengthen, and illumine it. Visualise that the radiance spreads to the room and everyone in it, to family, friends, locality, the city, the entire country, and then all other countries, the entire globe, the worlds beyond, the entire cosmos. This what it means to spread goodness, positive vibes, pure love — ‘Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu’ in its true form.

Isn’t the mission to promote Yoga to people all over the world not an endeavour towards ‘Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu’? Haven’t we heard ‘Pehla sukh, nirogi kaya’ (when you count your blessings, count good health at number one)? Doing yoga isn’t the PM’s job but this PM knows the big importance of small things. How can one enjoy wealth and prosperity with a diseased (not at ease) body? Most of us value good health only after losing it. Yoga Day is a golden opportunity to introspect if we are healthy and laying a good foundation of a healthy old age.

Our ultimate goal is union with the Lord. Yoga teaches us the process of reaching the ultimate through eight steps or limbs — yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. To quote from Modi’s speech at the United Nations: “Yoga is a philosophy of disciplined meditation that transforms the spirit to make us a better person in thought, action, knowledge, and devotion.” Strangely, some people view yoga as disguised propagation of the Hindu religion. The word religion itself is derived from Latin term ‘re-ligo’, which means to re-connect — with what else but our inner self. Yoga is a process of union with the inner self and the supreme soul. We now have a PM keen to expose us to this ancient wisdom, taking the message far and wide. And the world is standing up and taking notice. Yoga day is not about Modification but passionate call for being a true yogi. Stand up Mr Prime Minister, take a bow, Modi just achieved yogification.

(The author is a Chandigarh-based writer on spiritual issues)

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