Yoga is one of the most ancient traditions that we are aware of, yet it remains widely popular today. People all over the world continue to incorporate yoga into their lifestyles by studying, practicing and teaching it daily. It seems that the tradition has become even more prominent in recent years, often feeling like a new trend rather than one that was born in Northern India thousands of years ago. This is evident in Vancouver where you will find it almost impossible to get through a day without spotting someone carrying a yoga mat or walking by an outdoor yoga class. The reason that this practice has not dwindled with age and become lost in ancient history is because of its undeniable ability to positively transform lives by touching our minds, bodies and spirits.
In the age of information overload, we often lose ourselves amidst the chaos. Clarity is power in today’s hectic world, and yoga teaches our mind to focus our attention in the right direction. Through deep breathing and meditation, yoga allows us to reconnect with ourselves and our bodies. During this process we learn how to take charge of our thoughts and to access inner peace. Calming the mind in this way relieves stress and reduces overthinking, and this can lead to an overall improvement in our mental health. A trouble-free and quiet mind can also induce creativity, allowing us to serve our own purpose instead of somebody else’s.
An obvious yet extremely important benefit of yoga is the physical strength that it builds. Practicing yoga weekly will tone and strengthen the muscles, improving our body’s physical appearance but more importantly its resilience. Deep stretching will relieve our body of tension while challenging poses will push us beyond our limits, resulting in muscles that are both stronger and more relaxed. Through this practice we can also achieve better posture, balance and flexibility.
Creating harmony within ourselves will result in a happier experience of our outside worlds. Yoga allows us to be more present, and the ability to live in the moment can lead to a higher consciousness. With this higher consciousness comes increased awareness, allowing us to focus on the beauty by which we are surrounded. We gain a strong sense of connection to this beauty, and without the illusion of separation we are guided in becoming more sentient beings. When we achieve this state, we are capable of sharing immense love and kindness with all beings and all of nature.
The 21st century is one within which many have become lost in a fog of worldly-chaos and excessive consumerism. On the other hand, it is the century that has found us waking up and redefining happiness. There is somewhat of a barrier between the two, and the link that will connect them is yoga. This is the very mission of the International Yoga Festival which comes to Vancouver for the third time in June 2019 – To connect us to our predecessors from whom we can learn. To bring unity to Vancouver by connecting one and all. And to help the community bridge the gap between health and happiness.
“Our mission for this festival is to inspire and connect our communities to live creative, healthy, vibrant and stress free active lives through the practice of yoga and mediation.”