The International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on June 21st since 2015, following its launch at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2014. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in his United Nations speech, lifted the 21st of June, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares a special significance in many parts of the world.
The vision for International Yoga Day was first proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, during his address at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), on September 27, 2014.
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 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
Following this initial proposal, the UNGA held an informal discussion on the draft resolution, entitled “International Day of Yoga”, on October 14, 2014. The consultation was convened by Indian delegates. In 2015 the Reserve Bank of India released the 10th commemorative coin to mark International Yoga Day.
The first International Yoga Day is held worldwide on June 21, 2015. The AYUSH Department has made the necessary arrangements in India. 35,985 people, including PM Modi and dignitaries from 84 states, performed Asanas (Yoga postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi, it became the largest yoga session ever held, and with the largest number – 84 – of participating and foreign countries a large number of participating countries (84 nations) .The same days have been held in Indian cities and around the world each year since 2015.
The event at Rajpath established two Guinness World Records awarded to the Ministry of AYUSH, and received by the Minister Shripad Yesso Naik. They were for the largest yoga class, of 35,985 people, and for the largest number of participating nationalities (84 nations). In San Francisco, 5,000 participants gathered in the Marina Green park to practice yoga.
The Ministry organized an event titled “The National Event of Mass Yoga Demonstration” at Chandigarh, which was to be attended by the Indian Prime Minister. India’s Permanent Mission to the UN organized celebrations at the United Nations on 20 and 21 June 2016. A special event titled “Conversation with Yoga Masters – Yoga for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals“ was the centerpiece. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev was the main speaker at the event.
The theme for 2017 was “Yoga for Health”.
In Lucknow, the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi participated in the event and practiced yoga along with 51,000 participants. Many business leaders in India also took part in the event. In New York, thousands of participants gathered to practice yoga on Times Square. Japan created a Parliamentary League for the promotion of yoga just prior to the event, in April 2017. In China, the largest gathering was 10,000 participants in the city of Wuxi. In Athens, the event took place on 25 June as part of the Greek Open Yoga Day. In Kyiv, the event happened on 18 June and gathered a few hundred participants. In Ireland, participants met in the round room of the City Hall in Dublin.
The theme for 2018 was “Yoga for Peace”.
The event in Dehradun was held at the Forest Research Institute. PM Modi led an estimated 50,000 volunteers to mark the fourth anniversary of International Yoga Day. Over 100,000 people gathered at a yoga session in Kota, Rajasthan and performed yoga together, earning the city a Guinness World Record.
The theme of the 2019 event was “Yoga for Heart”.
The main event was held in Ranchi and the Prime Minister of India, Mr.Narendra Modi led a crowd of over 40,000 people. At this event, the Prime Minister addressed the people of India, stressing upon the importance of Yoga for the overall health of body, mind, society, and even our climate, saying “Let our motto be – Yoga for peace, harmony, and progress”. He also said that the government would be working to make Yoga a pillar of the ‘preventive healthcare and wellness’ system. Around 1000 participants, after a month-long practice, gathered at Lakshmi Vilas Palace of Vadodara, on 20 June 2019, to perform 108 sun salutations which began at 4:30 a.m. till 6:10 a.m. non-stop to celebrate the 5th International Yoga Day. The event has been held for the past three consecutive years, a day prior to the International Day of Yoga.
The theme of 2019 event was “Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family”.
The Ministry of AYUSH has launched the International Yoga Day (IDY) 2020 Theme-based campaign to make people do Yoga at home on 21st June amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family’ campaign has been launched in line with this year’s theme of the Yoga Day, considering the lockdown guidelines, social distancing measures and restrictions imposed worldwide on the movement of people.
The International Yoga Day 2020 will be aimed at highlighting the stress-relieving and health-building aspects of Yoga. This year, the International Yoga Day comes when the world is dealing with a health emergency, novel Coronavirus.
Yoga is not a work-out it is work-in, this is the point of Spiritual practice to make us teachable to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.
“ The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.”