There is a group of people, ranging from children to the elderly, and from the remote corners of Nepal to the heart of the ever-bustling New York City, who have drastically improved their health. They have unlocked the key to longevity.
These people have 87% less chance of being diagnosed with heart disease, 55% less chance of developing malignant tumours, and 30% less chance of catching infectious diseases.
Impressive right? It is just the start. This group also has seen improvements in mental wellbeing–there has been a decrease in depression by 33%, anxiety by 26% and overall distress by 32%.
As we are continuously bombarded with fast food, pollution, and unhealthy lifestyle choices everywhere we look, it seems miraculous that such improvement can be achieved in modern day life.
What is even more unbelievable is that these people are not taking some new ‘miracle’ drug, there is no secret concoction developed in a lab. Instead, what this group of people are doing, is something that has been around for millions of years: yoga.
What’s So Good About Yoga?
If you are unfamiliar with yoga, you may think that it is just a bit of stretching; similar perhaps to what you do before your gym workout. This is not the case (although it is good for increasing your flexibility).
So, what is the difference between regular exercise and yoga? “Exercise is important, but yoga is so much more than just exercise,” internationally renowned yoga teacher, Laura Plumb, explains.
It gives you the benefits of exercise but it also gives you benefits that go well beyond exercise…Mindfulness, awareness, awareness on your breath.
In fact, yoga is so beneficial that in ancient times it was only for royalty and the scholarly class. Luckily for our health, that is no longer the case… now, anyone, anywhere in the world can practice yoga. In fact, there are currently at least 300 million yogis worldwide. That is one hell of a lot of yoga!
In the US, the number of people practicing yoga almost doubled in just four years–from 20 million in 2012 to 37 million in 2016. While those are pretty impressive numbers, the US is not the country which is embracing yoga the fastest–that award goes to Japan with an astounding 413% growth in the practice over 5 years.
Yoga is Here to Stay
While some may see this growth as just another trend that will fade away as fast as it came, the longevity of the practice and the undeniable health benefits (which have always been present but only recently widely acknowledged), are a good argument against this.
The very nature of yoga encourages us to embrace the popularity of the practice. As Laura Plumb puts it:
Yoga’s purpose is to reunite us, and take us to what we call ‘unity consciousness’. But that ‘unity consciousness’ is not just mind, body, spirit united and reintegrated, it’s also a sense that…we are all consciousness and we are all one. We are truly one.
In other words, yoga teaches us that each and every person, as an individual, is part of a whole, and serves as a reminder that we are all connected.
We are all breathing beings who are so much more alike than we are different, and yoga helps us remember that.
The International Yoga Festival
This year, the International Yoga Festival, held in India from March 1st–7th, wants to embrace this reminder by bringing people together from 108 countries. In 2017, the festival had nearly 2,000 participants from 101 countries, and this year the aim is even higher. The organisers, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, say in 2018 they will be uniting yogis of every culture, colour and creed.
In the 7-day immersion and celebration, you have the opportunity to embrace every major style of yoga and learn from enlightened Spiritual Leaders, Master Yoga Teachers, Evolutionary Thought Leaders, and Wellness Specialists from around the world.
If you are already a yogi, this is an excellent opportunity to connect with yogis from different cultures and celebrate your practice. If you are new to yoga, or perhaps have never tried it before, the International Yoga Festival is the perfect time to get into it. As the famous quote goes:
Saying you are not flexible enough for yoga is is like saying you are too dirty to take a bath.
If you need more reason, just look at the stats.
Register for the International Yoga Festival here: http://www.internationalyogafestival.org