At the time when the world is planning to celebrate the international Yoga Day on 21 June 2017, we must know about some yogaacharyas/yoga gurus who have helped in promoting and popularizing Yoga across the world throughout ages.
Yoga is a physical, mental, and/or spiritual practice attributed mostly to India. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit and it means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
Before moving ahead with the names of the Yoga gurus, we should inform you when the day came into existence and on whose appeal.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 11 December 2014 unanimously declared 21 June as an international day for Yoga. The day for Yoga was declared on an appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He proposed an international day for Yoga during his speech at UNGA on 27 September 2014. Modi in his UN address suggested the date 21 June for the day, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Now, let’s talk about some Yoga Gurus who have contributed in promotion of yoga, an art or spiritual practice of India, across the world since ages. Some Yogaacharyas or Yoga gurus are
Maharishi Patanjali, referred as the ‘father of Yoga’, is a person who compiled 195 Yoga Sutras. With time, these Yoga Sutras called as Bhasya become the foundation of Yoga philosophy.
The core essence of Patanjali thought is eightfold path of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) that focused upon healthy living through Yoga. The prominent defender of Patanjali Yoga sutras in the present time was B.K. S. Iyengar.
Sri Aurobindo Ghose, a great yogi, philosopher and poet, was one of the brilliant prolific spiritual personalities of India. He penned down about 68 books on different domains of spirituality, some of them were related to Yoga like The Life Divine and Synthesis of Yoga.
The Life Divine focuses upon theoretical aspects of Yoga, while ‘Synthesis of Yoga’ throws light on practical facets of Yoga.
Swami Vivekananda, a great socio-spiritual leader and an exponent of Yoga, was a social reformer of India. His lectures and discussion across the world contributed in uplifting Yoga in the western world.
Through his lectures, he stressed that how negative thoughts that arises out of physiological, psychological, emotional reasons can be balanced through Yoga.
His philosophical work’s on Yoga includes Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
Born Narendranath Datta, Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk and a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna.
He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century.
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar
BKS Ayenger, a founder of the style of yoga known as "Iyengar Yoga", was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world. He was one of the earliest students of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who is often referred to as "the father of modern yoga".
Besides being a prolific Yoga teacher, Iyenger has authored several books on Yoga practice and philosophy like Light on Pranayama, Light on Yoga, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Light on Life.
For his contribution, Iyengar was awarded with several awards including the Padma Shri (1991), the Padma Bhushan (2002) and the Padma Vibhushan (2014). In 2004, Iyengar was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
Swami Ramdev also famous as Baba Ramdev is one of those Yoga Gurus of the modern-era who popularized yoga among common people both nationally and internationally. He has specialisation in different forms of pranayama (like Bhastrika Pranayama, Kapalbhati, Bahaya, Anulom-Vilom, Bhramri among others) and enables to cure many diseases and ailments including weight loss and lifestyle related disorders. His Pranayama modules are quite popular as yoga for weight loss. He is one of those, who influenced the Yoga programme on television.
Ramdev, the founder of the Patanjali Group of institutions, is mainly known for his work in ayurveda. He makes several medicines and products related to Ayurveda.
In 2006, he was invited by Kofi Annan to deliver a lecture on poverty alleviation at a United Nations conference. He has delivered lectures on Yoga in different countries like Britain, the US and Japan.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar is a spiritual leader from India and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence.
Frequently referred as "Sri Sri" (honorific) or as Guruji or Gurudev, Ravi Shankar has helped in popularizing or promoting Yoga across the world. He has authored a book on Yoga titled Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
For his service, he has received highest awards of several countries including India, Peru, Colombia, and Paraguay. In January 2016, he was awarded the "Padma Vibhushan" by the Government of India.