History of International Yoga Day: One Earth, One Family, and One Future

International Yoga Day, which is observed on June 21, honors the spiritual and physical power that yoga has brought to the global scene. Although millions of people participate and practice it every day, it is a significant source of exercise and good activities.

History of International Yoga Day

Yoga, an ancient practice, originated in the Indus Valley civilization in India over 5,000 years ago. It has been an integral part of Indian culture, with its principles and techniques passed down through generations. The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” meaning union or connection, symbolizing the harmonious integration of mind, body, and spirit.

The idea of International Yoga Day was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 27, 2014, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, where a resolution to establish June 21 as  Yoga Day was introduced by India’s Ambassador, Asoke Kumar Mukerji.

The date of June 21 was chosen as it is the Summer Solstice, the day where there is the most sun out of every other day of the year. Overall, it received support from 177 nations, the highest number of co-sponsors for any UN resolution, proclaiming June 21 as International Yoga Day.

On June 21, 2015, nearly 36,000 people, including Prime Minister Modi, and many other high-profile political figures from all around the world, performed 21 asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes in New Delhi in what was the first Yoga Day, and day has been celebrated around the globe ever since.

UN Declaration Yoga Day

On December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring June 21st as International Yoga Day. This historic resolution recognized the holistic benefits of yoga and its potential to contribute to global health and well-being. The declaration emphasized the importance of incorporating yoga into daily life and promoting its practice worldwide.

Global Recognition and Participation

Since its inception, International Yoga Day has gained significant global recognition and participation. It has become an occasion for people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities to come together and celebrate the essence of yoga. Various events, workshops, and classes are organized worldwide, spreading awareness about yoga and its profound benefits.

The Impact of International Yoga Day

International Yoga Day has played a crucial role in raising awareness about the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of yoga. It has encouraged individuals to embrace yoga as a holistic practice for overall well-being. The celebration of Yoga Day has also inspired governments, organizations, and communities to incorporate yoga into their policies, programs, and daily routines

Traditions of the Day

International Yoga Day is a relatively new holiday, so there aren’t any time-honored traditions. But yoga itself is an ancient art that refreshes the mind and soothes the soul. The day aims to encourage new people to adopt the yogi lifestyle and align with their inner chakra.

Newbies sign up for yoga and create their own flow of movements to their favorite relaxing music. Before starting yoga, new mats and yoga pants are bought. Those who are already skilled at yoga try out new combinations and introduce their friends to it. Special group yoga retreats are also offered by instructors.

What is Yoga and why do we celebrate it?

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.

Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.

Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.

The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states. The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition.

Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … 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 nature.”


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