International Yoga Day
June 21st – a special moment for all yogis in the world!
June 21st is at the same time the day of the summer solstice, the day of the Sun and the International Day of Yoga.
We could say it’s a happy coincidence, but what day of the year would be more appropriate to celebrate such a valuable spiritual tradition?
Since December 2014, the United Nations (UN) has proclaimed June 21 as “International Yoga Day”.
This proclamation followed the adoption of a measure proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 September 2014 in a speech to members of the UN General Assembly.
The 193-member UN General Assembly unanimously approved the request.
The Indian Prime Minister stressed on this occasion that
yoga allows people to “discover the sense of oneness with the Self, the world and nature.”
The date proposed by India is an important day, being that of the summer solstice – a holiday that has a special significance in many cultures with millenary traditions.
The Indian Prime Minister wants to restore the proper place of this ancient practice as a central element of Indian culture.
This is unlike yoga practiced in Western countries, where yoga is generally considered more of a sport.
Narendra Modi created a special ministry to promote yoga and Ayurveda –
a form of traditional medicine — and other Indian practices from the ancestors providing free yoga classes to three million government officials and their families.
“Yoga should not be just a physical exercise for us, it should be a means of connecting with the world and with nature,” Modi said during his speech at the UN. It should produce a change in our lifestyle, create more awareness in ourselves.
According to research, yoga appeared about 5000 years ago,
attested by the references made to it in ancient Hindu texts (Vedas).
This ancient spiritual discipline combines bodily postures (asanas) with breathing techniques (pranayama), relaxation and meditation.
Yoga experts talk about a “peace of mind” through which the true nature of existence can be understood.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said on June 21, 2015, that “tens of millions of people will do yoga on Sunday.”
Similar events took place in 251 cities on six continents,
and in New York, 30,000 people were expected to practice yoga on Sundays in the famous “Times Square.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a crowd of more than 35,000 people who gathered in the centre of India’s capital, New Delhi, on Sunday, June 21, 2015.
He celebrated International Yoga Day for the first time on June 21, 2015.
The event, meant to register India in the Guinness Book of Records, included an extensive 35-minute outdoor yoga session.