International Yoga Day
International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on 21st June. It is the longest day of the year and yoga also makes a person long. For the first time this day was celebrated on 21 June 2015, which was initiated by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September 2014 in which he said that:
International Yoga Day
- Other names: Yoga Day, World Yoga Day
- Follower: Worldwide
- Type: UN
- Celebrations: Yoga, Meditation, Group Brainstorming, Deliberations, Cultural Events
- Date: June 21
- Frequency: Annual
- First time: 21 June, 2015
"Yoga is an invaluable gift from the ancient tradition of India; it symbolizes the unity of mind and body; harmony between man and nature; thought, moderation and fulfillment; and a holistic approach to health and well-being." It is not about exercise, but about discovering the sense of oneness within ourselves, the world and nature. By becoming a consciousness in our changing lifestyles, it can help us deal with climate change. So let's work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."
— Shri Narendra Modi, United Nations General Assembly
After which June 21 was declared as "International Yoga Day". On 11 December 2014, 177 members of the United Nations approved a proposal to observe 21 June as "International Yoga Day". This resolution of Prime Minister Modi was passed with an absolute majority within 90 days, which is the shortest time for any day resolution in the United Nations.
Groups of formal and informal yoga teachers and enthusiasts celebrated World Yoga Day on dates other than June 21 in support of various causes. In December 2011, international humanitarian, meditation and yoga guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other yoga gurus supported the Portuguese Yoga Confederation delegation and suggested to the United Nations to declare 21 June as the World Together Yoga Day. .
After the appeal of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, the proposal of International Yoga Day was approved by the US in the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September 2014, after which it was first celebrated as World Yoga Day on 21 June 2015 all over the world.
This was followed by a conference titled 'Yoga: A Science for World Peace' from 4 to 5 December 2011. It was jointly organized by Yoga Association of Lisbon, Portugal, Art of Living Foundation and SVYASA Yoga University, Bangalore. According to Jagat Guru Amrit Suryanand, the idea of World Yoga Day came 10 years ago, but this was the first time that such a large number of yoga gurus from India were supporting this idea. The day was signed to declare 21 June as the World Yoga Day by the United Nations and UNESCO under the leadership of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
The following members were present at that conference: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, Art of Living; Sri Swami Bal Gangadharnath of Adi Chun Chun Giri Math; Swami Parmatmananda, General Secretary of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha; BKS Iyengar, Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute of Yoga, Pune; Swami Ramdev, Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar; Dr. Nagendra, Vivekananda Yoga University, Bangalore; Jagat Guru Amrit Suryananda Maha Raj, President of the Portuguese Yoga Confederation; Avadhoot Guru Dilipji Maharaj, World Yoga Community, Subodh Tiwari, President of Kaivalyadhama Yoga Sansthan; Dr. DR Karthikeyan, Adviser on Law – Human Responsibilities and Corporate Affairs and Dr. Ramesh Bijlani, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi.
Yoga helps in keeping a person healthy. By doing yoga, the mind and soul of a person remain balanced. But merely making the body shapely and keeping the mind under control for a few moments does not serve the purpose of man. Realization of God is possible only through Bhakti Yoga.
United Nations Declaration
The initiative received support from several global leaders. Firstly, the Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. Sushil Koirala supported the proposal of Prime Minister Modi. It has been supported by more than 177 countries including USA, Canada, China and Egypt etc. "This is the largest number of co-sponsors for any UN General Assembly resolution to date." On 11 December 2014, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved 21 June as the 'International Day of Yoga'.
After making the UN announcement, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lauded the efforts of Mr. Narendra Modi saying:
"It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without the patronage of the state. Yoga existed almost like an orphan until now. Now official recognition by the United Nations will spread the benefits of yoga to the world."
- Shri Shri Ravishankar
International Yoga Day
Emphasizing the importance of Yoga, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that Yoga makes you like a child again, where there is Yoga and Vedanta, there is no deficiency, impurity, ignorance and injustice. We need to make the world free from miseries by taking Yoga to everyone's doorstep.
To celebrate the first International Yoga Day (2015) in India, Ramdev along with BJP had made special preparations for this event, to make World Yoga Day memorable and to make the whole world aware of Yoga, Ramdev spent 35 minutes. Special package was prepared. With the success of International Yoga Day on 21st June, India has also set two world records.
International Yoga Day was celebrated on a large scale on 21st June in India, for which the government was preparing vigorously. The main function of Yoga Day was held at Rajpath in Delhi in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself participated. The Prime Minister did yoga at the Rajpath with around 36,000 people. A total of six other people along with the Prime Minister got an opportunity to share the stage of Rajpath on the occasion of International Yoga Day. The Prime Minister's Office has invited four yoga gurus, including yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Savyasa chief HR Nagendra, Smt. Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra and Swami Atmapriyananda. Along with this, AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik and AYUSH Ministry Secretary Nilanjan Sanyal were approved to sit on the platform. The Republic Day celebrations of International Yoga Day celebrations were covered by Doordarshan. It was broadcast live, using state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that the broadcast was of international standard. Along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also sent invitations to Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal for Yoga Day. Apart from political people, yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan were also invited. In the United Nations, extensive preparations were made to celebrate Yoga Day. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj presided over the function organized at the United Nations to mark the first International Day of Yoga. It was broadcast to a global audience from Times Square.
Yoga Day celebration at a school in Chinaval village, India
Around 36,000 people, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dignitaries, performed 21 yoga asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes for the first International Day of Yoga in New Delhi on June 21, 2015. Yoga Day was celebrated by millions of people across the world.
The ceremony at Rajpath set two Guinness Records: the largest yoga class with 35,985 people and the record for people from eighty-four countries participating in the event together. This record was taken by AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik himself.
The day had its share of controversies. To avoid controversy during the 'International Yoga Day', the government removed the mandatory chanting of "Surya Namaskar" and "Shloka" from official yoga programs and appealed to Muslims to participate in the event. AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik suggested Muslims to recite the name of Allah instead of shlokas during this program.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board opposed it saying Surya Namaskar was against the sect. The essence of the International Yoga Day of 2021 year is - "Yoga for health".
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