Move your body for better health

Move your body for better health

If you have failed to get healthy as per your New Year resolutions, two observances in June can help put you back on track.

Celebrated annually on June 21, the UN International Day of Yoga coincides with the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Falling on the second Saturday of June, Global Wellness Day (GWD) also encourages living well physically and spiritually.

Last Wednesday saw a historic outdoor yoga session in the north lawn of the UN Headquarters in New York City.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi was there for the celebrations of the 9th International Day of Yoga, organised by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in collaboration with the UN Secretariat.

The large number of participants of multiple nationalities reflected on unity and this year's theme, "Yoga For Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam" (Yoga For 'The World Is One Family'). Derived from Sanskrit, yoga means to join or to unite.

Originating in India, yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice. However it may have been misperceived as a luxury because costly yoga classes are conducted in air-conditioned studios. The indoor setting may have mutated the holistic practice into a workout of awkward bending poses.

"Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature," said Prime Minister Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly.

He underlined how yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, and how this holistic approach is valuable to health and well-being.

The UN recognised its universal appeal and proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131 on Dec 11, 2014.

The resolution notes "the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health".

The many yoga styles and asanas, however, need to be performed properly based on an understanding of each individual's needs and adjusted according to the person's body.

Those who shy away from yoga can simply dance to be fit as a fiddle.

On June 10, GWD was celebrated around the world under the #DanceMagenta theme.

GWD was founded by Turkish wellness pioneer Belgin Aksoy in 2012. More than being free from illness, wellness involves making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life.

The social project's slogan "One day can change your whole life" pauses your busy schedule, to think about making health and wellness a priority.

Its emblematic colour is magenta, and last year's theme #ThinkMagenta reminded people that living well begins in the mind.

While we cannot change what's happening around us, we can choose how to react and even see something good of bad situations.

Instead of thinking of what has happened to us and feel miserable, believe that it happened for us to pave the way for something better to come in the future.

The #ThinkMagenta approach overcomes stressful and negative moments by calming down, taking a deep breath, and smiling in spite of everything.

This year's #DanceMagenta theme brings more smiles and laughter. On the GWD website, a booklet guides a set of actions centred around dance, based on three steps.

First, burn calories and dance with your body to get some exercise. Second, dance with your thoughts during meditation and then dance with life and take control of its rhythm.

This third step inspires us to immerse in the rhythm of life. Those who hear the music of the universe can choreograph their life and take charge through positive thoughts and actions.

One can make music a part of life by starting the day and falling asleep with music or becoming the music yourself by humming or singing a song.

Dancing is an easy option for those who find it difficult to exercise or go to a gym. Get started by dancing for 10 minutes a day, and then gradually increase the time and number of days until it becomes a wellness routine.

GWD emphasises that dance has no place or time. Anyone can dance wherever they want, either alone or with a group.

Dancing to mood-enhancing music releases happy hormones, and anywhere can be a dance floor to help stay fit and bring more joy to life.

Kanokporn Chanasongkram is a feature writer for Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Kanokporn Chanasongkram

Feature writer

Kanokporn Chanasongkram is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.

Do you like the content of this article?