Jump to content

International Day of Yoga

This is a good article. Click here for more information.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from International Yoga Day)

International Day of Yoga
International Day of Yoga celebration at Patanjali, Haridwar
Observed byUnited Nations
SignificanceOfficial United Nations promotion of global health, harmony and peace
Date21 June
International Yoga day at a glance
Stamp of India commemorates with International Day of Yoga.jpeg

The International Day of Yoga is a day in recognition of Yoga, that is celebrated around the world annually on 21 June, following its adoption by the United Nations in 2014.[1][2] As Yoga exercises have shown significant benefits for physical and mental well-being,[3][4] it was considered important by the UN to globally promote this wellness practice, which originated in ancient India.[5][6]

The initiative for "Yoga Day" was taken by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2014 UN address,[2] and the related resolution received broad global support, with 177 nations co-sponsoring it in the United Nations General Assembly, where it passed unanimously.[7] Subsequently, the first International Yoga Day was celebrated successfully on 21 June 2015, around the world including New York, Paris, Beijing, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and New Delhi.[8]


Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Yoga Day celebrations in New Delhi, 21 June 2015

In September 2014, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his UN address, suggested an annual Day of Yoga on 21 June, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares a special significance in many parts of the world.[2][6] Following the initial proposal, the UN adopted the draft resolution, entitled "Day of Yoga", in 2014.[9] The consultations were convened by the delegation of India.[10] In 2015, the Reserve Bank of India issued a 10-rupee commemorative coin to mark the International Day of Yoga.[11] In April 2017, UN Postal Administration (UNPA) issued 10 stamps on Asanas on a single sheet to mark International Day of Yoga.[12]

UN Declaration


On 11 December 2014, India's Permanent Representative Asoke Mukherji introduced the draft resolution in the United Nations General Assembly. The draft text received broad support from 177 Member States who sponsored the text, which was adopted without a vote. This initiative found support from many global leaders. A total of 177 nations co-sponsored the resolution, which is the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA resolution of such nature.[7]

When proposing 21 June as the date, Modi said that the date was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere (shortest in the southern hemisphere), having special significance in many parts of the world. In the Indian calendars, the summer solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana. The second[13] full moon after summer solstice is known as Guru Poornima. In Hindu mythology, Shiva, the first yogi (Adi Yogi), is said to have begun imparting the knowledge of yoga to the rest of mankind on this day, and became the first guru (Adi Guru).[14]

Following the adoption of the UN resolution, several leaders of the spiritual movement in India voiced their support for the initiative. The founder of Art of Living, Ravi Shankar, praised Modi's efforts, saying, "It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without state patronage. Yoga has existed so far almost like an orphan. Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga."[15]

In practice


The first International Day of Yoga was observed around the world on 21 June 2015. The Ministry of AYUSH made the necessary arrangements in India. 35,985 people, including PM Modi and dignitaries from 84 nations, performed 21 asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi, becoming the largest yoga class ever held, and with the largest number—84—of participating nations.[16][17][18] Similar days have been held in cities in India and around the world each year since then.[19][20][21]



An Associated Press report in 2015 noted that the first "International Yoga Day"[22] involved "millions of yoga enthusiasts" who "stretched and twisted", as well as Modi and members of his cabinet. It stated that the main road in Delhi had become an exercise area for the occasion, and reported that while Modi was speaking of "peace and harmony",[22] some people in India thought the promotion of yoga was a partisan Hindu operation. It reported that a sequence of Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) was dropped because Muslims objected to the implication that the sun was the Hindu god of the sun, Surya; the chanting of the Hindu sacred syllable "Om" was also dropped. Others considered that the money spent on the event might have been better spent on cleaning Delhi's streets.[22]

The Christian Science Monitor wrote in 2016 that the 2014 United Nations resolution had been "wildly popular"[23] but noted that yoga had a "meditative component"[23] and had become known as not only a form of physical exercise but also a mental and spiritual practice. It gave as evidence the 2015 sermon by Pope Francis cautioning Roman Catholics about the idea that yoga could be a path to God; it noted, too, that Modi had replied to the charge that the Day was intended to promote Hinduism with the words "Yoga is not about the other life. Therefore, it is not a religious practice".[23]

The Week stated in 2015 that the government of India's purpose in holding International Days of Yoga was to have yoga recognized around the world as "India's cultural property",[24] citing India's minister of yoga, Shripad Yesso Naik as stating "We're trying to establish to the world that it's ours."[24] The Week wrote that this was not likely to succeed, not least because many types of yoga were already being practised in the Western world.[24] The article noted that Christian evangelicals agreed with the Indian government that yoga was "primarily a Hindu spiritual practice",[24] but quoted the scholar of religion Ann Gleig as saying that most Western yoga was markedly changed by being in the West, and was devoid of religious content; the "ironically"[24] agreeing views of strongly religious Hindus and Christians were "historically flawed".[24]

The theme of 10th International Yoga Day 2024 was “Yoga for Self and Society.”[25]

See also



  1. ^ UN Declared 21 June as International Day of Yoga Archived 9 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "Hindu Lawmaker Introduces Resolution In US Congress To Celebrate International Yoga Day". NDTV. 23 June 2017.
  3. ^ Marek Jantos (2012), in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare (Editors: Mark Cobb et al.), Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-957139-0, pp. 362–363.
  4. ^ "Yoga Landed in the U.S. Way Earlier Than You'd Think—And Fitness Was Not the Point". HISTORY. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development". mea.gov.in. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b "UN declares June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga'". The Times of India. 11 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b "United Nations General Assembly adopts Resolution on International Day of Yoga with a record number of 177 country co-sponsors". Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  8. ^ "International Yoga Day And What It Means For India". The New York Times. 29 June 2015.
  9. ^ "International Yoga Day 2021: Theme, History, Quotes, Benefits, Importance". S A NEWS. 19 June 2020. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  10. ^ "UN General Assembly to hold informal consultations on International Day of Yoga". The Economic Times. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  11. ^ "RBI to issue Rs 10 coins to mark International Yoga Day". The Economic Times. 30 July 2015.
  12. ^ "UN to issue 10 stamps of 'asanas' on International Yoga Day". Business Standard India. 19 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Guru Purnima 2018".
  14. ^ Sadhguru, J. (3 July 2012). "The first Guru is born". The Times of India. Times News Service. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Speaks on International Yoga Day". 12 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Massive turnout for Yoga day". 21 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Largest yoga class". Guinness world record. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  18. ^ "PM Modi Leads Yoga Session, India Sets Guinness Records: 10 Developments". NDTV. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  19. ^ "PM Modi To Attend International Yoga Day At Chandigarh". NDTV. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  20. ^ Shylaja Varma (21 June 2017). "International Yoga Day 2017: Rainy Start To Yoga Day, PM Narendra Modi Leads Asanas In Lucknow – Highlights". Ndtv.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  21. ^ "International Yoga Day 2017: A Look at the Celebrations Around the World". Zenyogastrap.com. 7 June 2016. Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Associated Press (21 June 2015). "Yoga fans around world take to their mats for first International Yoga Day". The Guardian.
  23. ^ a b c McCarthy, Simone (21 June 2016). "Why is the United Nations promoting yoga?".
  24. ^ a b c d e f The Week Staff (7 February 2015). "Does yoga belong to India?". The Week.
  25. ^ "Yoga theme".