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The global acknowledgement of International Yoga Day on June 21

The inaugural Yoga Day festivities took place in 2015 at Raj Path in New Delhi.

Deeksha Upadhyay 22 June 2024 06:37

International Yoga Day

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be at the forefront of the tenth annual International Yoga Day celebrations in Srinagar on June 21. He has been a staunch advocate of the numerous benefits of yoga and has actively promoted its practice. While yoga has always been synonymous with India's contributions to global wellness, its official recognition by the United Nations followed Prime Minister Modi's efforts in 2014.

June 21 is observed as International Yoga Day by the international community, with a specific theme announced each year. This year's theme is "Yoga for Self and Society". Last year, the theme was "Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — One Earth One Family", and Prime Minister Modi hosted the celebrations at the North Lawn of the UN Headquarters in New York City.

During the 69th session of the General Assembly on December 11, 2014, the UN took a significant step by passing a resolution to declare June 21 as International Day of Yoga. During the session, Modi expressed, “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 the nature.”

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The inaugural Yoga Day celebrations took place in 2015 at Raj Path in New Delhi, where Modi and other dignitaries achieved two Guinness World Records. The first record was for hosting the world's largest yoga session, attended by 35,985 people, and the second for having the largest number of participating nationalities, totaling 84.

Yoga, an ancient practice originating in India, is a holistic discipline encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. Its name, derived from Sanskrit, signifies the union of body and consciousness, emphasizing the joining and unification of these elements. While commonly recognized for its physical benefits, yoga's broader interpretation encompasses spiritual discipline and philosophical roots deeply embedded in Hinduism.

Yoga covers a wide range of religious practices and self-discipline, with practitioners known as Yogis. Early yogic philosophy focused on psychic training for spiritual liberation, as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of the grammarian Patanjali. Throughout history, various tantric schools have further developed and intensified the practice, creating a sense of exclusivity. (Reference: AL Basham, ‘The Wonder That Was India’)

Yoga has become a widely embraced philosophy of physical and mental well-being, enjoyed by millions worldwide. According to BKS Iyengar, a renowned yoga practitioner, the practice cultivates a balanced attitude in everyday life and enhances skill in performing actions.

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In the 2019 ‘Common Yoga Protocol’ by the Ministry of AYUSH, various components of yoga, including Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna, Samādhi, Bandhās and Mudrās, Ṣaṭkarmas, Yuktāhāra, Mantra-japa, and Yukta-karma, are listed as popular yoga practices.

The AYUSH protocol interprets the folded hands logo of Yoga Day as a representation of the union of individual consciousness with the universal consciousness, as well as a harmonious relationship between mind and body, man and nature. The logo’s elements, such as the brown leaves, symbolize the earth element, the green leaves represent nature, blue signifies the fire element, and the sun embodies the source of energy and inspiration.


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