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International Day of Yoga – History, Significance & Theme for IDY 2019

June 14, 2019 | Mimi Partha Sarathy

Read Time: 9 minutes

Celebrate International Day of Yoga 2019 this Friday 21 July 2019. For Registration & Details, Visit Link

The Indian culture is one of the most ancient cultures of the world. Vedas, the ancient Indian scriptures, are revered across the world. Voltaire has said, “The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East.” The term ‘yoga’ was first used in the Vedas. And yoga is one of the darsanas of the Indian culture. The yoga school of philosophy is completely rooted in the Vedas and is a means for inward journey.

Muni Patanjali in Yoga Sutra has said that Yoga is a state of stillness of the mind where the mind is focused in a particular direction without getting diverted. And this finally leads to the spiritual goal of self realisation. Yoga is a tool to eliminate human suffering resulting in physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Yoga brings in mindfulness in each of our actions and reduces agitation and discomfort both at body and mind level.

International Day of Yoga

Yoga – Integral to Indian Culture and a Way of Life

Yoga – Integral to Indian Culture and a Way of Life

Yoga is an integral part of the Indian culture and a way of life. But people have moved away from it and health issues, illness, stress, anxiety and dissatisfaction has become a way of life for majority of people all around the world. There is a need to go back to our roots and rediscover yoga. And the Yoga Diwas or International Yoga Day (IYD) is an effort in this direction. Yoga Diwas seeks to bring in awareness of yoga and its numerous benefits.

International Yoga Day – adopted by the United Nations in 2014

International Yoga Day – adopted by the United Nations in 2014

International Yoga Day was brought into existence because of a proposal by Sri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India in September 2014 while addressing the Unites Nation General Assembly. The Prime Minister had said,” 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.”

The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member statesand 21st June every year was ear marked as International Yoga day. 21stJune is greeshma sankranti or summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere and ushers in a period of transformation.

Since 2015, World Yoga Day is celebrated on 21st June and this year will be the fifth year. Every year this Yoga Diwas is celebrated in India under the aegis of the Ministry of AYUSH.

Some of the objectives for having a day specially set aside for Yoga are as follows:

  • Increase awareness of the health benefits of yoga
  • To address and bring down illness and suffering
  • To promote peace at individual, family, society and world level
  • To improve physical and mental wellbeing
  • To connect people to each other and nature at large.
  • Draw attention to the holistic aspects of yoga.
  • To make people aware of yoga as a tool of mindfulness and awareness.
  • To drive in the importance of having a consistent practice to sail through day to day activities.
  • To appreciate the role of yoga in reducing stress.
  • To understand the positive role of yoga in managing various lifestyle ailments like diabetes, anxiety, respiratory ailments.

Theme for 2019: Climate Action

Theme for 2019: Climate Action

“Yoga for harmony and peace” was the theme for the first International Yoga day on 21st June 2015. “Connect with youth” was the theme for 2016. “Yoga for wellness” was the theme in 2017. “Yoga for peace” was the central theme in 2018 and this year 2019 United Nations has declared the theme to be “climate action.”

The Ministry of AYUSH has released a booklet on Common Yoga Protocol as a guide to yoga practice. This booklet also gives details of the celebrations in lieu of International Yoga Day since 2015as follows:

First International Day of Yoga (21st June 2015) *

First International Day of Yoga

  • The Ministry of AYUSH successfully organised the first International Day of Yoga (IDY) on 21stJune 2015 at Rajpath, New Delhi.
  • Two Guinness World Records were made viz. the Largest Yoga Lesson involving 35, 985 participants and maximum number of Nationalities (84) participated in a single Yoga lesson.
  • Two days International Conference on “Yoga for Holistic Health” was organised on 21st and 22nd June 2015 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi wherein about 1300 delegates from India and abroad participated.
  • Millions of people in India and across the globe participated in the first ever International Day of Yoga celebrations. Common Yoga Protocol and Yoga DVDs were prepared to disseminate awareness of Yoga among the masses. Outside India, IDY was celebrated in all the UNGA member countries except war torn Yemen, by the missions, Ministry of External Affairs in association with Ministry of AYUSH and various Yoga institutions and organisations.

Second International Day of Yoga (21st June 2016) *

Second International Day of Yoga

  • The Ministry of AYUSH in association with leading Yoga Institutions, Centre and State Governments, State Departments and Chandigarh Administration successfully organized this event at at the Capitol Complex, Chandigarh.
  • More than over 30,000 people joined our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji for the Second International Day of Yoga celebrations where he pitched for treating diseases like diabetes through the ancient spiritual discipline Yoga
  • For the first time in International Day of Yoga, 150 Divyangs performed Yoga Protocol during the International Day of Yoga celebrations at the Capitol Complex, Chandigarh.
  • Two days International Conference on “Yoga for Body and Beyond” was organised on 21 and 22 June 2016 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. As many as 192 United Nation Member States has participated in the 2nd International Day of Yoga.

 Third International Day of Yoga (21st June 2017) *

Second International Day of Yoga

  • The Ministry of AYUSH in association with State Government of Uttar Pradesh successfully organized the third International Day of Yoga on 21 June, 2017 at Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan, Lucknow.
  • Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi Ji inaugurated the event where 51000 participants practiced Common Yoga Protocol along with him. The Hon’ble Prime Minister addressed the gathering and emphasised on the fact that Yoga has become a crucial factor in binding the world since it is a part of everyone’s lifestyle. He said that Yoga is about health insurance. It is not even expensive to practice. The event was also graced by Shri Ram Naik, Hon’ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.); Shri Yogi Adityanath, Hon’ble Chief Minister of U.P. and many other dignitaries.
  • Two days International Conference on “Yoga for Wellness” was organized from 10-11 October 2017 at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Millions of people in India and across the globe participated in the third International Day of Yoga celebrations.

*as given in the Common Yoga Protocol booklet released by Ministry of AYUSH

Yoganjali a precursor to the international day of yoga was held on 9th June at Rosewoods Hotel Bangalore know more 

 

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Mimi Partha Sarathy

Founder, Managing Trustee and Sr. Yoga Teacher SKWC

Bengaluru, Karnataka, India