International Yoga Day

The term solstice comes from the Latin SOL (sun) and SISTERE (stand still), meaning "stationary sun". In astronomy the solstice is defined as "the moment in which the Sun reaches, in its apparent motion along the ecliptic, the maximum or minimum declination point". It is, therefore, an event of importance since ancient times, as it marks the longest day of the year for the northern hemisphere and the shortest day for the southern hemisphere (winter solstice). The exact opposite happens on December 21st. So, on June 21st, the sun is at its Zenith, which is the highest point of the celestial vault. 

This phenomenon has always fascinated human beings since ancient times, being full of symbols. The cult of the sun can be dated back to prehistoric times, just think of the Neolithic megaliths of Stonehenge, the first astronomical observatory in the world. Mayas thought that the Sun was the regulator of all human activities, for the Eskimos the Sun is life, as opposed to the Moon that is death.  Egyptian religion was woven around the cult of Horus. Kheper in the morning when he rises; Ra when it is in the afternoon heat, Atum when it sets. 

Every ancient civilization, or even more recent religions (Christianity) celebrated the Sun in some way.

It is evident how the dualities Sun/Moon, Summer / Winter, are part of the slow and eternal repetition of the phases of life. And it is to UNITE the opposed opposites that Yoga exists. Yoga means Union, between the earthly self and the divine I, the body and the mind, the we and the others.

Yoga is as old as the world, there are graffiti dating back 7,000 years that represent humans in positions that can be linked to yogic asanas. It is a heritage of humanity and as such, during a speech at the United Nations, the Indian Prime Minister, Modi, proposed yoga as an intangible heritage of humanity, to be celebrated on June 21, the longest day of the year

On 11 December 2014, India's permanent representative Asoke Mukherji presented the draft resolution to the UN General Assembly. The draft text received widespread support from 177 Member States that sponsored it, which was therefore adopted without a vote. This initiative has found support from many global leaders. A total of 177 nations co-sponsored the resolution, which is the highest number of co-sponsors ever for and of any UN General Assembly resolution of this nature. 

When he proposed June 21 as a date, Modi said that the date was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere with a special meaning in many parts of the world, as we said above. From a yogic point of view, summer solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana, (Sanskrit: क्षिणायण) which is the period of six months between the summer solstice and the winter solstice, when the sun travels southward into the celestial sphere. According to the Puranas, (ancient tales), Dakshinayana marks the time of the heavenly sleep of goddesses and gods. 

Following the adoption of the UN resolution, several leaders of the spiritual movement in India expressed their support for the initiative. The founder of the Isha Foundation, Sadhguru, said: "this could be a kind of cornerstone for a scientific approach to the inner well-being of the human being, a thing of global reach ... It is a tremendous step for the world". The founder of Art of Living, Ravi Shankar, praised Modi's efforts, saying: "It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without state patronage. Yoga has existed so far almost as an orphan. Official recognition by of the United Nations would have further extended the benefits of yoga to the whole world "

So, as of 2015, June 21st, as well as coinciding with the beginning of summer, it has officially become International Yoga Day.

It has become a practice to celebrate this day with 108 Sun Salutations.

Why 108?

Number 108 is, in the tradition, a sacred number for several reasons including:

• is a multiple of the number 9;

• summing the three numbers that make it up 1 + 0 + 8 you have the number 9 again.

• In turn, the number 9 is important because it is 3 times 3, the perfect number.

• In mathematics 1: God, 0: the void 8: the infinite

• 108 are the Nadis (energy channels) that meet in the heart chakra Anahata

• In Sanskrit (original language of Yoga) there are 54 masculine letters and 54 feminine letters, 54 x 2 = 108

•Malas are made up of 108 wooden grains

Sun Salutation

Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, is a repetitive series of postures that warms, strengthens and aligns the whole body. It is the yogic tool that if correctly managed canr esolve the most disparate situations. There are many versions, some even disputable from the most radical point of view. But the positive side is that the sequence is a complete practice and can be modified, playing with its rhythm. If you move quickly in the sequence (moving to the next pose every time you inhale or exhale), you warm up quickly enough. Or if you move  to move slowly and deliberately, you will perceive how the sequence becomes a sort of moving meditation.

Moving quickly is more stimulating, while moving slowly is more relaxing.

So good summer, good yoga and

NAMASKAR

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