As summer begins, unless you live in a very cool climate, you’ll probably not be lighting indoor fires for a few months. Instead, summer is the time for outdoor fires at the beach, campfires, and time spent by your backyard fire pit. A backyard fire cooks your dinner and warms you up as darkness falls. It’s the perfect backdrop for playing acoustic guitar or telling ghost stories. And it’s a good place to get into the spirit of International Yoga Day with a pleasant outdoor evening practice beside your fire pit.
What is International Yoga Day?
India’s prime minister, Narendar Modi, proposed an International Day of Yoga during a speech to the United Nations in 2014. As he put it, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; 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.”
After some discussion, the UN’s 193 members unanimously embraced the idea of an International Day of Yoga, starting in 2015. They decided on June 21st, since it’s the longest day of the year. That means plenty of time for yoga.
Yoga and Fire
According to Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of natural medicine, the world is made up of five elements: earth, fire, water, air and space. The fire element – called agni in Sanskrit – is associated with power, passion, strength, digestion, transformation and, of course, heat. People with too much fire element are irritable and aggressive. Too little, they become lazy, depressed or withdrawn.
Certain yoga poses and techniques are used to stoke the internal fire. These include holding challenging poses for a longer time, doing core-strengthening poses and the short, fast exhalations of breath of fire. Flowing sun salutations also heat up the body.
International Yoga Day Events
From Vancouver to Bangalore, cities around the world are planning free public events to coincide with International Yoga Day. Richardson, Texas is celebrating a few days early with a 12-hour yoga fest on Saturday, June 17. In Delhi, the three-day YogShala Expo 2017 features 25 speakers from 20 different countries.
A public yoga event
Home Practice and Resources
At Old World Stoneworks, we like to stay home by the fire. If you’re a yoga newbie who wants to practice at home, you can access tons of yoga videos for free online. Just follow along with videos for beginners and don’t try anything too crazy. Bring your laptop or phone out to the fire pit and try one of these classes from Do Yoga with Me or The Yoga Collective.
Bring your yoga poses into the backyard.
We’re not going to come over and critique your poses. But if you have any plans to upgrade your fireplace – think how nice it will be to do yoga in front of the fire, six months from now – give us a call.