International Yoga Day: History, Theme, Significance and Interesting Facts

Yoga is an age-old practice that lends various mental and physical benefits. International Yoga Day is observed to make people aware of these benefits, and to promote its adoption in people's daily lives.
By: Kanishka Updated: Jun 18, 2020 19:08 IST
International Yoga Day: History, Theme, Significance and Interesting Facts
International Yoga Day

Yoga is perhaps one of the most effective, efficient and easy ways to boost immunity, relieve stress and remain mentally and physically fit. On June 21 every year, the International Yoga Day celebrates the physical and spiritual prowess that yoga has brought to the world stage. The day has been designated to encourage people across the world to take up this ancient Indian form of exercise and well being.

Yoga is considered to be an ancient practice that originated around 5,000 years ago in India. For centuries, Yoga has been believed to be a way to interconnect the mind, body, and soul. The practice has now become popular in the west, and is also being promoted as an exercise and relaxation method that aids body and mind's general well-being, alleviate physical injuries, and chronic pain.

International Yoga Day History

The idea of International Yoga Day was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 27, 2014, at the UN General Assembly. Further, a resolution to observe June 21, as the International Yoga Day was introduced by India's Ambassador, Asoke Kumar Mukerji. The date- June 21 chosen because it also happens to be the Summer Solstice - a day when the earth receives more sunlight as compared to other days in the year. The resolution was supported by 177 other nations proclaiming June 21 to be the International Yoga Day. 

On the first International Yoga Day, that was observed on June 21, 2015, around 36,000 people including PM Narendra Modi and other political delegates, sportspersons, celebrities from all around the world, performed 21 asanas for 35 minutes in New Delhi. Ever since people around the world take their yoga mats out on International Yoga Day and start exercising. 

International Yoga Day Significance

People of all age groups, religions, nationalities and social backgrounds can celebrate this day because yoga is accessible to all! There are different kinds of Yoga asanas based on their difficulty level, so even newbies can get hold of a yoga mat and start practicing. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity, calmness, and relieves chronic stress. It also helps strengthen immunity and fight back severe diseases. Yoga Day is important to celebrate to make people aware of the benefits of Yoga. 

International Yoga Day 2020 Theme

This year the world would be celebrating the sixth edition of the International Yoga Day. In the light of the ongoing pandemic, the theme for this year has been chosen to be Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family. 

In a statement, the AYUSH Ministry said, “Due to the contagious nature of COVID-19, no mass gathering would be advisable this year. Hence, this year the ministry is encouraging people to practice yoga at their homes, with participation from the entire family.” 

International Yoga Day 2020 Celebration

The government is promoting virtual events for Yoga Day 2020, for the promotion of which PM Modi earlier this month, in his radio programme Mann ki Baat, launched a video blogging competition called My Life My Yoga. 

The competition encourages people to stay active and fit despite the lockdown. Prime Minister has invited citizens to send in their entries and participate in the event. The event is being jointly organised by AYUSH Ministry and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The AYUSH Ministry is continuously posting content related to the event on their social media pages. Even health and fitness freak Bollywood celebrities like Shilpa Shetty, Milind Soman, Akshay Kumar have urged people to join in. 

Interesting Facts About Yoga

  • Around 36 million Americans claim to practice Yoga regularly, which accounts for around 10% of the country's population. 
  • With more than 100 styles of Yoga, there is something for everyone. This is the only exercise that can be performed by people of all age groups.
  • In recent times Yoga has become a social media hit and at any given point of time you can find around 60 million trending posts on Instagram. 
  • Invented in 1982 by an Angela Farmer, the anti-slip yoga mats are now one of the most selling products on e-commerce platforms.

Some of the Most Beneficial Yoga Asanas

  • Ardha-Matsyendrasana Yoga

While performing this asana one has to twist their spine, which results in decompressing and nourishing it. This asana is known to boost immunity and enhance the digestive system.

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Ardha-Matsyendrasana Yoga

  • Matsyasana Variation

Matsyasana helps in boosting the energy level of the body and it directly targets the lungs and helps relieve congestion.

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Matsyasana Variation

  • Prasarita Padottanasana

This asana is said to be beneficial for the chest. It also helps in burning the belly fat and gets you in shape. It also loosens the body and releases the tension within the body.

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Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Viparita Karani

An ultimate stress buster, this yoga asana pose reduces insomnia and helps you indulge in good sleeping habits. Apart from this, it has several other benefits including lymph drainage, blood circulation and releasing pressure.

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Viparita Karani

  • Pranayama

One of the most popular yoga asanas, this is based upon breathing techniques and helps release mental stress. It helps in calming the mind and enhance the quality of life.

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So, what are you waiting for? Get your yoga mats out and start practicing.

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