Yoga for well-being

The day is marked to raise awareness of the many benefits of Yoga, as it continues to grow in popularity across the world.

By   |  Published: 20th Jun 2021  7:44 pmUpdated: 20th Jun 2021  9:58 pm

International Yoga Day is observed every year on June 21, as mandated by the United Nations, to highlight the importance of the practice — defined as “physical, mental, and spiritual” at the same time — in helping people lead a healthier lifestyle. The day is marked to raise awareness of the many benefits of Yoga, as it continues to grow in popularity across the world and is practiced in its various forms.

Origin of Yoga

Yoga is said to have originated over 5,000 years ago in India. The word ‘Yoga’ was mentioned in ancient Indian texts like the Rig Veda, the earliest amongst the Vedas.

Scholars, Rishis (sages) of the Vedic times documented their practices in the Upanishads. Upanishads contain extremely valuable core teachings of Indian philosophy containing over 200 scriptures.

India proposed the idea

The idea for an UN-mandated International Day of Yoga was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2014, Modi proposed the idea. Modi called Yoga an ‘invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition’ calling for ‘harmony between man and nature’ through Yoga.

Following Prime Minister Modi’s proposal, 21 June was marked as the date to celebrate International Yoga Day since it marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, which holds special significance in many parts of the world.

Global acceptance

International Yoga Day is observed every year on June 21 since 2015 following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. A record 177 countries supported the resolution. Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India and is helping people lead a healthier lifestyle.

Scientific research has proven that Yoga can help reduce stress levels, increase awareness, build immunity, and strong physical and mental health along with helping regularize the systems of the body overall.

The United Nations has been offering Yoga to its personnel as a means to deal with physical and mental health crises during the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recommended Yoga as means to improve health. Its various benefits include increased flexibility, fitness, mindfulness, and relaxation.

2021 theme

Amid the adverse times of the pandemic, this year the International Day of Yoga is putting its focus on well-being beyond the immediate impact on physical health. International Yoga Day 2021 carries the theme ‘Yoga for well-being’, at a time when society is still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoga in COVID times

The COVID-19 crisis has had a vastly negative impact on people ranging from physical, mental, psychological, emotional, societal, and not to forget the financial aspect of it. The pandemic has left many with mental health issues, loneliness, constant fear, psychological suffering, depression, and anxiety.

Yoga can come to the help of people dealing with such a crisis, the United Nations explained on its website since the message of the practice is to promote both physical and mental health.

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