Yoga day 2019; all you need to know: India-backed initiative turned into global event recognised by the United Nations

On 21 June, millions of people across the world will celebrate International Yoga Day. The global event which is marked by group yoga sessions, — one of which is lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself — multiple awareness programmes, and global conferences is actually India's brainchild.

What is International Yoga Day?

In a bid to promote yoga and spread it's awareness, in 2015, UN declared 21 June as International Yoga Day. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who suggested the date in his United Nations address all the way back in 2014.

 Yoga day 2019; all you need to know: India-backed initiative turned into global event recognised by the United Nations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a great yoga proponent. Image courtesy: PIB

The resolution on 'International Day of Yoga' was introduced by India's Ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji and saw 177 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any General Assembly resolution.

Adopted under the agenda of 'Global Health and Foreign Policy,' resolution 69/131 recognized that Yoga “provides a holistic approach to health and well-being” and that wider dissemination of information about its benefits would be beneficial for the health of the world population.

Why is June 21 chosen to celebrating International Yoga Day?

Prime Minister in his UN General Assembly in 2014 said: "The date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world."

21 June is the day of the Summer Solstice when the tilt of a planet's axis in the northern hemisphere is most inclined toward the sun. Hence, it is the longest day of the year with the sun rising early and setting late for the Northern Hemisphere.

The summer solstice is also considered important in Indian mythology as it marks an event that is considered the start of Yogic science.

Is there a theme?

This year, the International Yoga Day's theme is "Climate Action" and it will be celebrated at the UN on 20 June as "Yoga with Gurus," followed by a panel discussion on 21 June.

Climate change is undoubtedly the biggest threat prevalent in the world right now. People are constantly attempting to innovate, debate and implement new and more effective ways to reverse the negative impact the human population has had on the environment. Hence, it is only appropriate that the UN decided to go with this theme.

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How has India celebrated it in the past?

The first International Yoga Day celebrations were held at Raj Path in New Delhi where Modi, along with other dignitaries had created two Guinness World Records by performing around 21 yoga asanas. The first record was set for housing 35,985 people and being the world’s largest yoga class. The second one was for having, 84 foreigners, which is the most number of nationalities participating, in a single yoga session.

For the past three years, the government has been handing out Prime Minister’s Awards for Outstanding Contribution for Promotion and Development of Yoga under the AYUSH ministry. The winners of this award is felicitated with of a trophy, certificate and a cash prize around 25 lakhs. This award is instituted to recognise the commitment and contributions of individuals and organisations who promote Yoga to spread its multiple benefits among the public.

The ministry of AYUSH deals with natural methods of treatment, including Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha (AYUS). It was formed on 9 November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995 and renamed AYUSH in November 2003. This ministry now handles all events and awards related to the International Yoda Day celebrations in India.

Prime Minister Modi also established a new ministry, AYUSH which deals with natural methods of treatment, including Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha (AYUS). It was Modi who turned the department into a full-fledged ministry on 9 November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995. In 2003, it was renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy with an objective to focus on development of education and research in ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy systems.

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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2019 21:11:57 IST