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INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY: what is it and why is it celebrated?

Celebrated on June 21st is the international Yoga Day or commonly known as Yoga Day since it started in the year 2015. Yoga is a spiritual and physical practice that took birth in India and is widely celebrated here. The date 21st June was personally chosen by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The idea of the International Yoga Day was also coined by the Prime minister while giving a speech at the UNGA, on 27 September 2014 where he emphasized on the importance of health and how it can be achieved via yoga when he said,“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition.”

He further added “It (yoga) embodies the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

The resolution for this was co-supported by 177 countries which have been the highest number to date to support any UNGA resolution in this genre. As for the day, Summer solace is also auspicious in terms for Yoga as it marks the beginning of Dakshinyana. Apart from the Indian Prime Minister many world leaders supported this initiative all over. The person who laid the seed of The Isha Foundation, Sadhguru also claimed, “ this could be a kind of a foundation stone to make a scientific approach to the inner well-being of the human being, a worldwide thing... It's a tremendous step for the world.” Some of the most influential people in the country and even the world in a spiritual regard also appreciated the effort as the founder of Art of Living, Ravi Shankar was also impressed by the movement greatly and was in in sync with Modi’s efforts as he commented in favor of this day, "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 to the entire world."

Today, on the fourth anniversary of Yoga Day PM Modi will perform yoga with approximately 50000 candidates. More such events will take place led by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and along with several Union Ministers throughout the country. The event took place in Dehradun at the Forest Research Institute with tight security in this entire place along with Dehradun being more secure than usual due to the Prime Minister’s presence. On the airport, Modi was welcomed by dignitaries like Uttarakhand Governor Krishna Kant Paul and the Chief Minister TS Rawat along with various other important leaders. Yoga events were held in Lucknow, Nagpur, Chennai, Rudraprayag, Hajipur, and Patna where Union minister and leaders like Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu, Uma Bharti, Ram Vilas Paswan, Ravi Shankar Prasad took part in.