International Day of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that has its origins in India. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘join’ or ‘unite’, symbolising the union of body and mind. The establishment of the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014. In his address, India’s Prime Minister, Narenda Modi said : ‘Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach that is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.’ On December 11, 2014, United Nations declared the International Day of Yoga to be held on June 21 every year. The United Nations’ resolution notes ‘the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health’. As such, the World Health Organisation urged its member states to help their citizens reduce physical inactivity, which is among the top ten leading causes of death worldwide. The late B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of the style of yoga known as ‘Iyengar Yoga’ and an author explained that ‘Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s action’.