International Day of Yoga is celebrated on 21June in order to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga. The day is organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations (UN). Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
Yoga for Peace
The theme for the International Day of Yoga 2018 celebration is 'Yoga for Peace.'
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
Recognizing that yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population, on 11 December 2014 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.
The resolution notes “the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health.” In this regard, the World Health Organization has also advised its member states to help their citizens reduce physical inactivity, which is a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes contributing to top ten leading causes of death worldwide .
The proposal was first introduced by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014, in which he stated: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach that is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
21 June is selected for the International Day of Yoga as it is the Summer Solstice and date signifies the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. The first International Day of Yoga was celebrated on 21 June 2015. India registered two Guinness World Records on this day; one for 35,985 people practicing in a single yoga session at a single venue and the other for most nationalities participating in a yoga lesson. The event is recognized and celebrated across 192 United Nation Member States in 2016.
Yoga for Health
The organizers believe that this approach to health and wellbeing can make a direct and useful contribution to humankind's quest to achieve sustainable development and move towards lifestyles that are in harmony with nature.
“Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”- As said by the late B. K. S. Iyengar, famous yoga practitioner.
For learning and practicing yoga see at - Common Yoga Protocol