New Delhi: International Day of Yoga has been celebrated each year on June 21 since 2015. Yoga originated in ancient India, and is a group of physical, mental and spiritual exercises that involves mindful and controlled breathing and various body movements to rejuvenate the body and calm the mind. Claiming that yoga offers a path for sustainable living, UN in its praise of the ancient exercise wrote, “The essence of yoga is balance – not just balance within the body or that between the mind and the body, but also balance in the human relationship with the world. Yoga emphasises the values of mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance. When applied to communities and societies, Yoga offers a path for sustainable living”.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY
The idea to have a UN-mandated day to celebrate Yoga was propounded by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), during his speech.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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 in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” Modi had said.
Later the initiative was backed by a staggering 177 nations, leading to June 21 being declared as ‘International Day of Yoga’.
This year’s theme for International Day of Yoga is ‘Yoga for Humanity’. It is so as the exercise form is instrumental in developing strength and resilience. Yoga helps in building up psycho-physiological health and managing daily stress.
Yoga promotes holistic wellbeing and can be practised by anyone as it does not require any expensive gym machines. The exercise form, particularly helped people during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic. “People around the world embraced yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression during the pandemic. Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of Covid-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. It is particularly helpful in allaying their fears and anxiety,” writes the UN.