With people becoming more health conscious now and more enthusiastic about fitness than ever before, a whole lot of yoga schools, ashrams and courses are sprouting all across the nation to cater to the rising interest in the sector and hence the need to observe an International Yoga Day. While the tradition of yoga in India has been around for over 5000 years, it has become a recent craze over the past five years due to its promise of a healthy mind and body without any repercussions. Amping up the hype around the day are celebrities like Shilpa Shetty, Mouni Roy and our very own Prime Minister Narendra Modi who are maintaining the energy around yoga by regular videos featuring different asanas.

History

Though the United Nations recognised the day in 2014, it was PM Modi who had proposed the idea initially. In his address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Narendra Modi said, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; 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 nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

Date

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of International Yoga Day during his speech at United Nations General Assembly and also suggested June 21 to be dedicated to Yoga day since it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Hence, on December 11, 2014, the UN declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day. The first International Yoga Day function in India was held on June 21, 2015, at Rajpath in the national capital. It witnessed Narendra Modi performing Yoga along with over 200 million people across the country and over 37,000 people in Delhi alone. The second edition was held in Chandigarh with the participation of over 30,000 people in the presence of the Prime Minister.

Significance

Raising global awareness about the benefits of the ancient Indian practice, International Yoga Day provides a holistic approach to health and well-being. Yoga is a union of physical, mental, as well as spiritual practices that are said to have originated 5,000 years ago. The practice of yoga comprises of breath control, meditation and adoption of particular body postures.

Theme

With the main event slated to be held in Ranchi this year, the theme is “climate action”. Expecting around 18,000 people, including Chief Minister Raghubar Das, ministers and senior officials of the state along with PM Modi, the program will be organised at Prabhat Tara ground where the yoga session will take place. At the United Nations, the event “Yoga with Gurus” will be celebrated on Thursday, June 20, followed by a panel discussion on June 21.