Maybe you need a mental escape from stress. Perhaps you need time to rejuvenate your health. You might simply want to feel more limber.
The International Day of Yoga — which is on Monday, June 21 — could be the day that jump-starts a healthy new habit.
The day has been designated by the United Nations, and for 2021, the theme is “Yoga for well-being,” with an emphasis on the holistic health of every person.
The UN says on its website that the day will be “marked at a time when (the) COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend lives and livelihoods of people globally. … The message of Yoga in promoting both the physical and mental well-being of humanity has never been more relevant.”
Originating in ancient India, yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice, the UN says.
If you want to have some international company to participate in the day, the Permanent Mission of India to the UN invites you to an online celebration to be broadcast live on UN WebTV 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET on June 21.
After messages from UN officials, you can watch demonstrations of “exercises (asanas) to improve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.” The virtual event will also have an interactive panel discussion.
Meanwhile, CNN invites you to look back at some of our recent coverage on yoga:
5-minute morning yoga routine
CNN fitness contributor Stephanie Mansour created this five-minute yoga routine to loosen up your body and start your day off feeling calm, balanced and positive.
“As a certified yoga instructor for over a decade, I encourage my clients to engage in a daily yoga practice (preferably in the morning) to get the blood flowing, boost energy and invigorate the senses,” she wrote.
“These poses are strategically included because they open up the body physically, improve blood flow to the vital organs and stretch the front, back and sides of the body in a short amount of time.
“Practice all of these poses with the pranayama breath: Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose. Breathe slowly and mindfully, and sync your breath with your movements.”
Yoga for stress-related insomnia
It’s Mansour to the rescue again, this time with yoga for people who have trouble sleeping.
“Perhaps you’re a skeptic on yoga, or you don’t know where to begin. I designed this insomnia yoga routine just for you to focus on poses that bring inward calm to your nervous system and allow your body to relax,” Mansour wrote.
“Whether you do this routine right before bed, during the day or in the morning, a regular practice is what’s most important in order to help with insomnia.
“Breathwork and mindfulness is also a major part of this yoga routine. Breathing in through the nose and out through the nose helps calm the nervous system. As you hold each yoga pose, think of breathing in and filling your body up with air, and breathing out to release deeper into the pose. This mindful attention to your body and to your breath, studies have shown, helps improve sleep, too.”
Yoga tips from an NFL star
Finally, you might not think of rough ‘n’ rugged NFL stars when you think of yoga. But Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Mike Daniels has found that yoga works for him. CNN fitness contributor Dana Santas talked with Daniels about how he developed the habit.
“I started doing yoga after my fourth season in the NFL, going into my fourth year. I was feeling really stiff, and one of my teammates said I needed to start practicing yoga. He passed along the instructor’s number and, after the first session, I immediately saw results.
“When I finished, it was like a body-awakening experience,” he said.
Perhaps the words of one of yoga’s top practitioners, the late B.K.S. Iyengar will inspire you:
“Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”