Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that has its roots in India. The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness around the world, regarding the many benefits of practicing the art. The day is being celebrated since 21 June 2015.
History of International Yoga Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2014 address at the United Nations General Assembly proposed that a day to celebrate and practice yoga must be recognised globally.
Modi in his address had highlighted that Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient traditions, before going on to add, “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
According to a report in Hindustan Times, Modi had picked 21 June as the day to celebrate yoga since it makes the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere and is the longest day of the year.
The report added that the first-ever Yoga Day saw Modi and dignitaries from 84 nations perform 21 asanas for 35 minutes at New Delhi’s Rajpath.
The day saw the creation of two records. One was for the largest yoga class ever held and the other was for the highest number of nationalities to have participated.
Theme for International Yoga Day
The theme for International Yoga Day 2020 is Yoga for Health – Yoga at Home. According to the United Nations, while social distancing measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic have shut down yoga studios, practitioners have turned to home practice and online resources. The theme highlights that yoga is a powerful tool to deal with stress of uncertainty and isolation and helps maintaining physical well-being.
How is International Yoga Day being celebrated
As per a report in Times Now, to celebrate International Yoga Day 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, has started a campaign called ‘Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family’ to encourage people to practice it and stay healthy.
The report adds that the session will be led by a trainer and telecast on Doordarshan on 21 June from 6.30 am onwards.
The report adds that the Mysuru district administration in association with Yoga federation of Mysuru is organising an event, while the International Naturopathy Organisation (INO) will also be celebrating the day with an event from their houses. The day will also be celebrated by the SDM group of institutions of Dharmasthala (Karnataka) through the “Yoga from Home, Yoga with Family” activity at 7am on 21 June.
A video blogging contest jointly organised by the Ministry of AYUSH (MoA) and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) was also announced. It is aimed at highlighting the transformative impact of Yoga on the lives of the individuals.
Yoga helps you find freedom in life and brings peace in our world.
Practice Yoga at home with your family & participate in the #MyLifeMyYoga video blogging contest and send in your entries for the contest NOW!! @milindrunning #mygovindia #pibindia pic.twitter.com/eWx44gOk1I
— Ministry of AYUSH🇮🇳 #MyLifeMyYoga (@moayush) June 15, 2020
According to news agency PTI, yoga enthusiasts from Texas and other US states too will be celebrating International Yoga Day 2020 from the safety of their homes with acclaimed yoga guru Baba Ramdev on livestream amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The two-hour live programme from 10 am will begin with an opening ceremony and brief remarks by Aseem R Mahajan, the Consul General of India in Houston. The virtual session will be live streamed on the CGI Houston Facebook page as well as the Facebook page of India House.
San Antonio in Texas will celebrate the day on 20 June with an all-day ”yogathon” that will be streamed live, the report added.
According to the website of All India Radio, Dutch Army and police personnel too will showcase yoga asanas during the International Yoga Day to be commemorated virtually in the Netherlands on Sunday in view of the COVID-19 restrictions.