Renon/Nagpur: Following the call by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, the United Nations adopted June 21 as the International Day of Yoga in its annual General Assembly meeting held in New York on December 11, 2014. Yoga, a 5,000 odd year-old physical, mental & spiritual practice originated in India, and aims to transform body and mind.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the international community to adopt June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, while elaborating that:
“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 us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.
In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, said that the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.
This initiative received overwhelming support from the international community. On December 11, 2014, the 193-member U.N. General Assembly approved by consensus the resolution establishing June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’. A record number of 175 countries co-sponsored the resolution, which is a testimony to the enthusiastic cross-cultural and universal appeal that Yoga enjoys globally. It had the ‘highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such nature’. Indonesia was one of the first countries to support and co-sponsor the resolution.
The term ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘YUJ’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature. The aim of Yoga is Self-Realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to ‘the state of liberation’.
Yoga is one of the oldest sciences of the world, which originated in India. It is very useful for preserving and maintaining one’s physical and mental health and for ‘spiritual evolution’. The practice of Yoga started with the very dawn of civilization. Yoga, widely considered as an ‘immortal cultural outcome’ of Indus valley civilization – dating back to 2700 B.C., has proved itself catering to both material and spiritual upliftment of humanity. Basic humane values are the very identity of Yoga Sadhana.
The great Sage Maharshi Patañjali systematized and codified the philosophy and practices of Yoga, its meaning and its related knowledge in “The Yoga Sutras”. The Sutras bring together all the various strands of theory and practice of yoga and present them in one concise, integrated and comprehensive text. According to Patañjali, there are eight components of the practice referred to as Ashtanga Yoga or eight ‘limbs’ of Yoga sadhana, which must be practised and refined in order to perceive the true self – the ultimate goal of Yoga.
The International Day of Yoga seeks to promote our universal aspiration for good health and well-being in our individual lives and our shared quest for balance and harmony between people, human beings and nature, which is vital for addressing many of present-day global challenges and is in consonance with the principle of ‘Tri Hita Karna’.
Tarun Vijay, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha ) of India narrated the above facts during a Press Conference convened at the Consulate General of India in Renon, Denpasar on 9 April 2015, attended by members of the media and leaders of local religio-cultural institutions, local yoga teachers, academicians and students. He highlighted that Yoga is very essential in the present-day scenario of stressful lifestyle and numerous conflicts within the society, communities and states. He stressed that practice of Yoga brings about peace, love, compassion and harmony towards fellow human beings and must be practiced by everyone.
He appreciated the recognition granted by the International community through the United Nations General Assembly Resolution and expressed his gratitude for Indonesia’s early support and for co-sponsoring the Resolution. He emphasized that this has been possible due to the initiative of the Yogi Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, who himself practices Yoga every day. He called upon all people in Bali to actively participate in the celebrations marking the first International Day of Yoga in Bali.
The Consul General informed that the maiden International Day of Yoga will be celebrated in Denpasar, Bali (Indonesia) on Sunday, 21 June 2015 at the Lapangan Puputan Margarana (Bajra Sandhi Monument) in Renon from 7 am onwards. He elaborated that the event is being organized in close collaboration and active support of the Governor of the Province of Bali and with all local partners, including yoga institutions. He invited all people of Bali to participate in the event and contribute in raising the awareness about the ancient science of yoga and its benefits for healing the body and mind and for enhancing harmony within the society.
The Consul General informed that the event would include practice of yoga by a record number of people at the same venue, followed by the lecture-cum-demonstration by yoga experts, including from India, yoga competitions, felicitation of eminent yoga teachers and winners of yoga competitions as well as awards to the best female and male yoga practitioners. He invited suggestions from the members of the public for the celebration of International Day of Yoga in a befitting manner. He invited everyone to register early with the Consulate at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for participating in the event.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, today launched the website of the International Day of Yoga at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The website – www.idayofyoga.org – provides comprehensive information, in a user-friendly manner and initially in six official United Nations languages, about the International Day of Yoga and all related events, with videos, images, articles, news, etc., to support the celebration of International Day of Yoga worldwide. The website will also feature a bi-weekly quiz called iYogiQ based on the history and other factoids related to Yoga.
A Facebook page – www.facebook.com/yogathan2015 – and a Twitter handle – @iYogaDay – have also been created for social media audience.