International Day of Yoga, celebrated annually on June 21, was declared to be internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014 following the unanimous endorsement of India’s related proposal by UN member states. The day of summer solstice was picked for a reason – most nations attach special significance to it and hold fetes and festivals to celebrate it. These activities go back to the times of antiquity when people did not yet follow any kind of organized religion.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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 yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi
International Day of Yoga was first celebrated in 2015, with yogis from all over the world embracing with joy the opportunity to get together in this kind of global practice. That day over 200 million people from 192 countries performed asanas! And at the center of events, in India’s capital New Delhi, a Guinness record was set: a total of 35,985 people performed yoga side by side on Rajpath.
Right now June 21 is a day many a yoga enthusiast from around the world is looking forward to. Throughout the world Indian embassies and consulates are joining hands with local authorities to arrange a festive practice for everyone willing to join in. Yoga studios will be having open classes and workshops. Shops will be offering discounts. And the renowned Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev will be holding a yoga practice at the UN headquarters in New York! This year June 21 is Tuesday, so many are postponing their celebrations to the nearest weekend. You can view the full list of activities across all of the participating countries right here.
But the main event is, of course, taking place in India. This year’s festivities will be centered in Chandigarh, the capital of the state of Punjab located 260 km from Delhi. At 7 am, at Capitol Complex, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will open a yoga session that is going to include yoga postures, meditation, and chanting. Nearly 30,000 participants are expected to attend the event. It is worth noting that this time there will be no Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) series, due to disapproval last year from certain religious confessions and political parties in India. Questions have also been raised regarding the Om mantra, to which the fete’s organizers have responded that no one is going to be forced to do it against their will and there is no need to say anything. As with many other things in this world, in yoga it doesn’t matter what you say – it’s what you do that does.
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