Why is June 21 observed as International Yoga Day?

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, June 18, 2022, 04:04 PM IST
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) participates in a mass yoga session along with other Indian yoga practitioners to mark the 2nd International Yoga Day at Captol complex in Chandigarh on June 21, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH |

The international community observes June 21 as International Yoga Day, recognising the many benefits of the ancient Indian practice of yoga. The year 2022 marks the 8th annual International Yoga Day.

‘Yoga for Humanity’ is the theme for this year’s International Day of Yoga. Pandemics have not only been difficult for our physical health, but they have also had a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, health issues such as depression and anxiety are on the rise. Therefore, the need of addressing mental health concerns has risen, and adapting to yoga in such a situation has become a must.

Although yoga has long been recognised as India’s gift to the global culture of wellness, the official UN recognition came after a push by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.

Why is June 21 celebrated as International Yoga Day:

The UN proclaimed June 21 as International Day of Yoga by passing a resolution on December 11, 2014 during the 69th session of the General Assembly. At the session, PM Modi had 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 the nature.”

“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,” the United Nations website says.

The word ‘yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolising the union of a person’s body and consciousness.

The first Yoga Day celebrations were held in 2015 at Raj Path in New Delhi and Modi, along with other dignitaries, had created two Guinness World Records. The first record was set for housing 35,985 people and being the world’s largest yoga session. The second one was for having the most number (84) of nationalities participating in it.

The AYUSH protocol describes the folding hands logo of Yoga Day as reflecting “the union of individual consciousness with that of universal consciousness, a perfect harmony between mind and body, man and nature, the holistic approach to health and well being. The brown leaves in the logo symbolize the earth element, the green leaves of nature, blue the fire element while the sun symbolises the source of energy and inspiration.”

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