The United Nations has confirmed June 21 as International Yoga Day after our prime minister suggested the same during his UN speech last year. This announcement definitely created a worldwide momentum in the direction of this Indian spiritual gift to the world. It was indeed a fresh start for our new generation and yet another big reason to understand India as the home to mystical science.
In a fast-paced and stress-filled urban life, many working professionals take up yoga seriously and it has made some difference to those who practice everyday in the midst of their busy schedules. Restaurant workforce needed this badly too. Inspired by positive changes at work and encouraging initiatives by some yoga teachers to combine food and yoga, we developed two creative yoga retreats at Florence house near Brighton. That was an eye-opener to appreciate the popularity of yoga as people travelled from different parts of the world for a weekend. Live cooking and conversation made tremendous difference to the mood of the people. We added soothing Indian music to make the sessions more holistic.
Obviously healthy and tasty nourishment adds stimulus to the overall transcendence when the individual is closer to knowing his self. Some yoga masters today understand the power of spices and the feelings that go in Indian cooking. They say, “Through balanced food and yoga, mind will sustains its ability to impart more radiance to life.”
We found interesting people in groups like this who may have thought yoga could be a secret capsule to remedy their problems without any efforts in day-to-day life. A guru explains, “The significant step is to choose yoga for life ahead of material gains or opportunities. It’s a selfless quest to find your own roots and enjoy a blissful existence. You need to apply a meditational discipline every moment.”
Like in every part of the world, we had colourful events in many parts of London during the yoga day. In fact, we were invited to join a group in Hertfordshire to make their event attractive. It was more like a corporate celebration for publicity than helping a yoga cause. Some of these people appeared confused about the purpose of yoga as they take it in the same way like they run their business. Chef Prasad and crew planned their own yoga at Hanover green. It was simple and beautiful to be around normal people.
Divinity of karma, new hope, improved performance, ease at work and selfless giving are all features and outcomes of yoga. A healing smile replaced short temper, generosity liberated stinginess and serenity pushed ego out for good.
Yoga’s importance has been reverberating silently in the last 5,000 years from India. With this new awareness, it has reinvented its place in every community around the world. Hopefully, it will survive and win globalisation of cultures and mad influence of technology where money has a strong grip on everything we do.
Our horizon has been open for new possibilities. Inventions to better our lives have crossed miles beyond our repertoire. Yet millions toss and turn in their bed not knowing the purpose of their life or how to balance their minds filled with needs.
Guru Purnima, first full moon after summer solstice, is the perfect day to impart knowledge of yoga to the rest of the world to benefit from its invaluable harmony of mind and body, thought and action.
The author is a London-based restaurateur who owns the Rasa chain of restaurants