Yoga is an ancient form of discipline, uniting the physical, mental and spiritual aspects, and is practised worldwide by those who desire to stay healthy and fit. It is generally believed to have originated from India. In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UN) declared 21 June as International Yoga Day.
The commemorative day was first celebrated the following year, thus marking the beginning of a tradition. The date was suggested by India's current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as it falls on the Summer Solstice.
During his address to the UN, Modi said: "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature."
In celebration of the day, IBTimes UK has compiled a list of top quotes from Yoga loving celebrities.
Top 10 quotes
"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured." – BKS Iyengar
"Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts, which otherwise impartially prevent all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of Spirit. Yoga cannot know a barrier of East and West any more than does the healing and equitable light of the sun." – Paramahansa Yogananda
"The meaning of yoga is connection of mind, body and spirit. If you have a bad telecommunication system, your body gets sick. Yoga helps fix that." – Bikram Choudhury
"The deeper you get into Yoga you realize it is a spiritual practice. It's a journey I'm making. I'm heading that way." – Sting
"You spend so much time in your head in life. And what yoga does is, it asks you to allow your head to be quiet, to allow it to be still, just for an hour and a half. Just deal with your body and your breath. And it's a great workout. I love it." – Colin Farrell
"Any spirituality can be enhanced with the practice or study of yoga." - Christy Turlington
"Yoga takes what you have and molds and sculpts it, which is a much more natural way to look and feel." – Adam Levine
"More yoga in the world is what we need." - Diane Lane
"Yoga is at the core of my health and wellness routine; even if it's only for 10 to 15 minutes I find it helps me to re-centre and to focus as well as improve my overall core strength." – Miranda Kerr
"Yoga calms me down. It's a therapy session, a workout, and meditation all at the same time!" – Jennifer Aniston
Finding the balance between the physical and the mental
According to Shruthi Jain, a certified and practicing yoga instructor in Bangalore, India, yoga is about more than just physical fitness, with the asanas just the "tip of the iceberg". Yoga, she says also works on "an emotional level".
Explaining the common misconceptions about yoga, Jain said, "Often yoga is associated with being a fitness practice or asanas. Although yoga does offer many profound benefits to our body's flexibility, strength and balance, it also helps us experience emotional well being and connect to our inner, essential self. At its core, yoga means unity – the union of mind, body and soul.
"The intention of consciousness-based yoga practice is to integrate and balance all the varied layers of our lives so that our body, mind and spirit flow in harmony. Over time, yoga becomes a part of our lives and a part of us, instead of just something we 'practise'".