HONOURABLE Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, in his maiden address to the 69th UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014, made a proposal that June 21 each year be observed as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations.

Within 75 days of making the proposal, 193 members of the UNGA approved the proposal by consensus on December 11, 2014, with a record 177 co-sponsoring the resolution to establish June 21 as “International Day of Yoga”. 

In its resolution, the UNGA recognised that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being, and wider dissemination of the information on the benefits of practicing Yoga should be given for overall health of the world population. In suggesting June 21, as the International Day of Yoga, Honourable Prime Minister Modi said: 

“the date is the longest day (summer solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and has a special significance in many parts of the world.

”In his address at the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Modi said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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,Yoga can help us to deal with climate change. Yoga is essentially a discipline which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. Yoga also brings harmony in all walks of life and thus is known for disease prevention, health promotion and management of many lifestyle – related disorders. It is an art and science for healthy living. The word “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning “to join”, “to yoke” or “to unite”.

According to Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness.One who experiences this oneness of existence is said to be “in Yoga” and is termed as a yogi who has attained a state of freedom. Yoga is a 5 000 year old physical, mental and spiritual practice speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BC. 

Yoga gurus / teachers from India later introduced yoga to the West, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. Yoga in Indian tradition, however, is more than physical exercise; it has a meditative and spiritual core. Medical research in recent years has uncovered many physical and mental benefits that Yoga offers, corroborating the experiences of millions of practitioners. 

Research has shown that Yoga is beneficial for physical fitness, musculoskeletal functioning and cardiovascular health. It is also beneficial in the management of diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension, hypotension and many lifestyle related disorders. Yoga helps to reduce depression, fatigue, anxiety disorders and stress. 

Yoga is a process of creating a body and mind that are stepping-stones, not hurdles, to an exuberant and fulfilling life. The objective of celebrating the International Day of Yoga is to create awareness about yoga and how it benefits everyone in better understanding the significance of traditional and authentic yoga technique

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