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2016-06-21      13:19:07

JUNE 21ST-THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA What is the International Day of Yoga?

Antarastriya Yog Divas or Yoga Day observed on June 21st every year is a day symptomatic of stressing on a mental, physical, and spiritual practice or discipline that finds its origins in India. Yoga is over 5,000 years old and its only aim is to help and benefit the body and mind on an individual level and to help mankind on a collective level.

How did this IDYA initiative come about?

The proposal was first mooted by the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi at his address to the UNGA on September 27th 2014, he highlighted its importance, and said, "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 you, the world, and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in our wellbeing. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."

And consequently, on December 11th 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga.
What does the Logo of the International Day of Yoga signify?


   The folding of the hands in Yoga signifies the union of our consciousness both at the individual and universal level. With this, one would be able to achieve perfect harmony and balance between the mind, body, and nature. The different colors, leaves, water, fire, and sun signifies different elements of nature which include water, fire, earth, nature, and energy. And all of this blends into the universal personification of peace for the entire mankind, which is the very essence of Yoga.
What was the specialty of the day, June 21st?
   The day, June 21st has a special significance in more ways than one. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the Summer Solstice and this day features the longest day and the shortest night in the year. It is the beginning of a new Solstice in most parts of the world.   Also as per the Indian sacred texts, this day also marks the transition to Dakshinayana from Uttarayana which in layman's language just signifies the sun's movement from North to South. This marks seasonal changes too in most parts of the world. Also, with the onset of Dakshinayana, the first full moon after the summer solstice is referred to as Guru Poornima, a day where you remember your spiritual guru who is said to have imparted valuable teachings and taught the essence of Yoga.

What happens on Yoga day?

   Practice of yoga, meditation, spreading awareness about yoga, and adopting it in one's lifestyle by discussing its benefits mark the day's events. In 2015, the first year of the International day of Yoga, the AYUSH Ministry, initiated and spearheaded the movement with over 35,985 people, including the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi and many notable individuals from 84 countries, performed twenty-one yoga asanas or postures for about 35 minutes at the Rajpath in New Delhi. NCC cadets from around the country entered the Limca Book of Records for the "Largest Yoga performance simultaneously by a single uniformed youth organization" by taking part simultaneously at different places and venues. This year, in 2016, there are many events planned in India and across the world including the UNO headquarters in New York. An event titled "The National Event of Mass Yoga Demonstration" spearheaded by the Indian Prime Minister is to be held at Chandigarh. India's Permanent Mission to the UN is also organizing events at the United Nations on June 20th and 21st 2016. A special event titled "Conversation with Yoga Masters-Yoga for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" is the star attraction.
How many countries are taking part in IDOY?

   This is the second year the international day of yoga has been celebrated, following lobbying by the prime minister of India Narendra Modi to the United Nations in 2014.
June 21st was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2014, to coincide with the summer solstice.
   Over 190 countries, including the US, China and Canada and 40 Muslim countries, supported the move to have a special day earmarked to promote Yoga.   Initially, when the resolution was passed in the UNO, about 175 countries agreed and sponsored the resolution. And surprisingly, it was one of the highest numbers of co-sponsors ever been passed for any UNGA Resolution and for something like this. This was definitely very motivating and encouraging. And to date, there are more than 190 nations and even 40 Muslim nations who have supported this initiative and have agreed to recognize June 21st as the Day of Yoga.

Yoga Celebrations at the UNO- June 21st 2016

   The United Nations Organization has planned the planets "most diverse" Yoga Day celebrations that are to be held over a 2-day event at the UNO headquarters in New York. It is heartening to witness people from different races, ethnic groups, cultures and countries all coming together to just follow, learn and adopt simple Yoga exercises and postures so that it helps determine a way of life that is not just healthy but complete and fulfilling. The events at the UNO as part of the International Yoga Day celebrations include "Sadhguru" Jaggi Vasudev leading the event by holding sessions of Yoga practice which is supported by Yogic chanting. The Chief Guest of the event is the General Assembly President, Mr. Morgens Lykketoft. The 97-year-old, Tao Porchon-Lynch who is believed to be the oldest, living yoga teacher in the world will also be a part of the celebrations. A multifaceted person, she is an author, was an actress, a documentary film-maker, and a screenplay writer. Ambassadors and Diplomats from different nations will also share the podium and recall their personal experiences of how Yoga has positively affected their health and lives. About 7, 695 Indian peacekeepers too will take part in the celebrations just to showcase that the practice of Yoga is a harbinger of peace and harmony worldwide. This year's celebration is also supporting the 17 UN's Sustainable Development Goals program which includes making sure and promoting overall wellbeing, and healthier living for all age groups. The program also includes ensuring cities are safe, flexible, and sustainable; Encouraging sustainable usage and producing, this culminates in ensuring that all people and societies live in harmony. In the words of Cristina Gallach, the Under Secretary General for Communication and Public Information, UNO, "Yoga teaches us how to achieve inner peace and lead healthier lives." The International Day of Yoga gives us an opportunity to bring this message to the United Nations." "The inner peace and healthy lifestyles that yoga inculcates is crucial if we are to respect each other, and to respect all forms of life on Earth and below water. In that way it helps us to achieve the SDGs."

The popularity of Yoga will spread far and wide

   With awareness building, exposure, and with more and more people across the globe understanding the concept of Yoga and benefits for the same, its simplicity, easy to adapt and learn and also the ancient Science behind each "Asana" and its immense benefit to the human body is something that people are in the process of discovering. And the practice of Yoga is set to captivate and grow its followers in a big way, both in India and abroad. So are you ready to take the Pledge? Then just say and follow this, "I Pledge to make Yoga an Integral Part of my Daily Life."