International Yoga Day is observed every year on June 21st across the globe and it intends to educate people about the benefits of practicing Yoga.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of dedicating a day to yoga during his address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2014.
June 21st was officially declared International Yoga Day on December 11th, 2014 with the validation of more than 175 member states.
On June 21st, 2015, the first International Yoga Day was celebrated with the theme "Yoga For Harmony and Peace".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was joined by other international political figures, and together they performed 21 asanas for 35 minutes.
The event took place in New Delhi.
History Of Yoga
Yoga originated in India but dates back thousands of years and although the exact details are not clear, it is said to help unite the mind, soul, and body together.
The very first recorded scriptures of yoga are found in the Rigveda which is the oldest known Vedic text to exist in Hinduism that goes back to somewhere around 1500 BCE.
There are numerous mentions of practices similar to Yoga in the text like meditation and controlling your breath.
A historical figure who was said to be the most influential person in preaching the significance and benefits of Yoga was sage Patanjali. There is very little known about him but studies suggest that he lived around 200 BCE.
He also authored the 'Yoga Sutras' which is a classical yoga text that describes the philosophy of yoga. In that book, Patanjali defines Yoga in many ways, one being
which is Sanskrit for "Yoga is the control of the mind.'
Yoga evolved with the passing of centuries and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika which was written in the 15th century CE, is so far one of the most notable texts about yoga that are still practiced today.
Yoga started gaining attention across the globe in the 19th and early 20th centuries when Swami Vivekananda, introduced the benefits of Yoga to Western countries during the late 1800s.
Benefits Of Yoga
Yoga includes several physical, mental, and spiritual exercises, including asanas (physical positions), pranayama (breathing exercises), and dhyana (meditation).
It also improves strength, flexibility, balance as well as overall physical and mental health. Practicing yoga daily helps in enhancing memory, focus, and cognitive function.
Our respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and immune system also benefit greatly from practicing Yoga. It also helps in managing diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis and promotes better sleep.
How to Celebrate Yoga Day
Every year, a certain theme is allocated to this day. The theme for International Yoga Day 2023 is 'Humanity'.
The Ministry Of Ayush in India plays a significant role in the celebration of International Yoga Day. Ayush is the Indian government's Department of alternative medicine and traditional systems of Medicine.
Other than that, several other organizations across the world organize events to commemorate International Yoga Day.
For example, The United Nations hosts an annual yoga event at the New York headquarters that brings hundreds of participants every year.
Many professional yoga studios or public places also organize special yoga workshops to spark interest in the public.
So, the best way to commemorate International Yoga Day is to try to practice some yoga poses, create a flow and discover a new way of exercise.
With so many different styles of yoga, it shouldn't be difficult to find something for everyone.
It is very easy to get into yoga, as the only equipment necessary is comfortable, stretchy clothing and a yoga mat, or even a towel.