The International Month of Yoga was conceptualized by yogi Sanjay C Patel. But it’s sacred history belongs to Shiva.
Many thousands of years ago, according to ancient yoga texts, Shiva became the “First Yogi” (adi yogi). He also became the first yoga instructor!
Many people gathered around him to view the spectacle of his ecstasy and begged to learn the secret. He ignored them. Gradually they all left. But seven remained. They became the hallowed Sapta Rishis – or Seven Sages. To these seven Shiva taught yoga and told them to teach it in all directions of the world.
This was on the night of the full moon. But it also coincided with the day of Dakshinayana – the day of the summer solstice. (The June full moon day is celebrated by devout Shiva followers.)
Because the lunar calendar does not exactly follow the solar, the confluence of the summer solstice and full moon occur approximately once every 30 years. This year in 2017, the full moon was on June 9. (The approximate month of June is called ‘Jeth’ in India’s lunar calendar).
In yoga’s sacred heritage, spiritual anniversaries follow the lunar calendar not the solar, so their Gregorian dates vary every year. But in this case of confluence the Dakshinayana day is also important and for that June 21 every year is fixed.
So let’s make the best of both worlds – let’s celebrate international yoga month every year from the beginning of June to June 30.