As International Day of Yoga approaches, the United Nations headquarters in New York was lit up with various images of yoga postures on the side of its building. Since its inception in 2015, the day has been celebrated every year on June 21.

During a special ceremony that was attended by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu and diplomats and officials from the Indian mission, yoga postures were projected on the North Facade of the UN Headquarters.

The North Facade of the UN Secretariat building was awash with ‘Surya Namaskar’ or ‘Sun Salutation’ postures projected against a colourful background.

The Surya Namaskar is one of the most popular and significant yoga exercises, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeting about its benefits in a special video made for the occasion of the Yoga Day this year.

“Have you made Surya Namaskar a part of your routine? Do watch this video to know why it is a good idea to do so and the advantages that come with regularly practising it. #YogaDay2019,” Modi said in a tweet.

The Indian mission will organise several events over the course of the next two days to mark the 5th International Yoga Day on June 21.

‘Yoga with the Gurus’ will be held Thursday evening on the sprawling North Lawn in the United Nations Headquarters and Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed will be Chief Guest at the event.

The outdoor event will have a session led by Yoga gurus Swami Paramananda, Kevin Tobar and his associates from Bhakti Cente and Sunaina Rekhi from India. In addition, there will be musical and dance performances by “Indian Raga”.

On June 21, the commemoration day, a panel discussion on the theme of ‘Yoga for Climate Action’ will be held at the UN headquarters.

Moderated by Naidu, the discussion will feature lifestyle coach and motivational speaker Gaur Gopal Das, Acharya for International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Srinivasan, Yoga teacher, author and lecturer Eddie Stern, author, speaker and philosopher Simon Haas and Kusumita Pedersen, Professor of Religious Studies at St Francis College, Brooklyn.

Exhibitions on Yoga are also going on in the UN building, including the ‘Exhibition on International Day of Yoga – World Photo Series’.

The International Day of Yoga is celebrated annually on June 21 to raise global awareness about the benefits of the ancient Indian practice.

On December 11, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’, months after Prime Minister Modi proposed the idea.