International Day of Yoga is celebrated every June 21st in order to recognize the gifts of physical and spiritual health yoga has brought to the world. Our yoga studio in Smithfield is sharing the history of how it came to be and how you can take part in this special day.
The Origins of International Yoga Day
While yoga itself dates back over 5,000 years, the International Day of Yoga is still a fairly new commemorative day. In fact, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, proposed the day in September of 2014 during an address to the United Nations General Assembly.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies 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 the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”— Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly
In December, a draft resolution was introduced by Asoke Mukherji and it was co-sponsored by 177 nations – the highest number of co-sponsors any resolution brought to the UNGA has ever had. June 21st was the proposed date as it has unique significance throughout the world due to the summer solstice. It’s also important in yoga as it marks the end of Uttarayana (a 6-month period of winter to summer) and the beginning of Dakshinayana (a 6-month period of summer to winter). Shiva, the first yoga and later the first guru, is thought to have begun sharing his knowledge of yoga with others on this day, too.
June 21, 2015 marked the first International Day of Yoga, and in observance, almost 36,000 people, including Prime Minister Modi and dignitaries from across the world joined a global yoga class for 35 minutes. This set the record for the largest yoga class ever held and with the largest number of participating countries – 84, total.
Taking Part in The International Day of Yoga 2020
Each year, there is a theme to the International Day of Yoga, and this year is no exception. The theme declared by the Ministry of Ayush India is “Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family.” Of course this is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also about celebrating the home space, being with people we love, and sharing this experience together.
This doesn’t mean there’s no way to take part – thanks to digital communications, there are virtual celebrations being held. People around the world will be uploading videos of their yogic practices, including pranayama, asana, and kriya, talking about how yoga affects their lives for the better, and connecting through the hashtag #MyLifeMyYoga.
Here are some ways you can also observe the day:
- Spend time in meditation, opening your mind and spirit to those around the world;
- Join an online yoga class;
- Take online lessons;
- Bring friends together for a Zoom yoga group;
- Have your family join you for a kid-friendly yoga class;
Try a Free Online Yoga Class at the Yoga Connection
While we are disappointed to be closed right now, it’s more important to be safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, and we will be back open soon! However, until then, stay in practice, relieve stress and anxiety, and boost your immune health with our free online yoga classes. To learn more about our classes, learn about yoga teacher training and more, call us at 919-971-1431 or fill out our form below for more information.