June 21 is celebrated as the International Day of Yoga (IDY) since it was so adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2014. First IDY was celebrated in June 2015 and this year it was the sixth IDY. Celebrated all over the world, with a message from Prime Minister of India Mr Modi, appealing to practice Yoga at Home attracted millions of people to perform Yoga and upload Videos, Photos and Write-Ups on social media.
June 21 is also an astronomical event, Summer Solstice, which marks maximum tilt of earth’s poles towards the Sun. It happens twice in the year, one of them is in summer. Marking midsummer and end of spring, it also happens to be the longest day of the year.
Incidentally, an annual solar eclipse, moon passing between the sun and the earth, occurred on the same day. The sun appeared blindingly bright ring shape, surrounding the moon.
But most interestingly, the 21st of June happened to be the International Day of Slowness.
While Coronavirus has devastated the world economy and human lives, it is important that we pay attention to what nature demands from us. It will not be sustainable to keep moving at the pace we were used to until 2019. The year 2020 wants us to think twice and zero down to a lifestyle which is in alignment with nature. Moving slowly, like a tortoise, has pragmatic symbolism. The campaign of slowness started in Italy, as a movement against the fast-paced lifestyle.
I mentioned all the four incidences of 21st June, i.e. Yoga Day, Solistice, Eclipe and Slowness, because of their particular importance as a rare combination. While Yoga suggests the body and mind’s rhythm, the solstice is a symbol of longevity. Eclipse is a warning that anything, including the Sun, can be blocked, overshadowed by the moon, and therefore, slowness is a blessing. It is better to live a slow, nature-friendly life to make it longer and healthy.
Here are a few tactics to slowdown, intentionally, to adjust our lifestyle to nature:
1. Personal time: Give yourself some personal time. It is not necessarily an act of seclusion. You may be with family or friends but on your wish, to make yourself happy, rather than fulfilling some obligation, social or official.
2. Disconnect: To slow down, disconnect for some time from all gadgets and connections. A small bubble of time without internet and telephone access can help in slowing down. In fact, nothing stops if you take a small break.
3. Align your mind and body: Yoga simply means connecting mind and body, through rhythmic breathing, exercise and controlled thoughts. When monkey mind settles, slowness becomes blissful.
4. Plan for long stint: Just like solstice, aspire and plan for a long stint, whatever field you are active in. No good thing comes easily and quickly. Therefore, a long stint, with full dedication and diligence, to achieve your desired goal is important.
Till the next 21 June, let’s practice Yoga and Slowness.