International Yoga Day
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India 5000-years ago; the purpose of yoga is to transform the body and mind of the practitioner. The origin of the word comes from Sanskrit – an ancient Indian language still spoken and studied by scholars worldwide. The word in Sanskrit means ‘to unite’; yoga is the union of the physical and cognitive self. The honourable prime minister of India Mr Narendra Modi, when addressing the UN General Assembly on 27 September 2014 first proposed that 21 June be declared as International Yoga Day. He choose this date because it is the longest day of the year and this date is revered around the world for several reasons. On 11 December 2014, upon observing the global popularity of yoga the UN General Assembly declared that 21 June will be observed as the International Day of Yoga through resolution 69/131. This year will be the third anniversary of this ancient spiritual art.
First International Yoga Day
The first international yoga day was welcomed by people from all around the world; it was celebrated by 192 countries on 21 June 2015. They celebrated it by coming out of their homes and openly practising the yoga asanas. The Times Square in New York saw a large number of people gather to participate in the yoga day celebration. The foreign minister of the Republic of India Mrs Sushma Swaraj was also present at the event.
The International day of yoga was also celebrated in Delhi, India with almost 35,985 people including the Indian PM and dignitaries from 84 countries attended the event. They practised 21 yoga asanas for about 35 minutes at the Janpath in New Delhi. NCC cadets registered their place in the Limca Book of Records for the largest number of uniformed people performing yoga simultaneously. The event also won two Guinness world records which were awarded to the Ministry of AYUSH.
History of Yoga
Yoga dates back more than 5000 years, some even believe it to be 10000 years old. It originated and developed in the Ancient India; it is an integral part of the Hindu yogi life. Until very recently the practice of yoga was confined only to India and the rest of the world knew very little about it. Those who knew were sceptical about the miraculous effect of practising yoga. But today due to the efforts of several yoga gurus the world is realising the benefits of practising yoga. The history of yoga can be traced in three time periods.
The pre-classical era, in this era the first mention of the word yoga was found in the Rig Veda – one of a significant Hindu text. Yoga was developed by the Rishis and Brahmins of the ancient India who recorded it in texts called the Upanishads. The most famous scripture and what will become the base of the Hindu religion the Bhagavad-Gita was developed by the Rishis.
Classical yoga, during the pre-classical era, the ideas and the practice were not clearly defined and they often conflicted with each other, but during this era thanks to the contribution of Rishi Patanjali, who systematically presented the yoga. He also described the way to Raja Yoga, the steps and the procedure of obtaining samadhi or enlightenment.
Modern period, during this period yoga started to gain popularity in the west; with people like Swami Vivekananda, T. Krishnamacharya, and others who travelled around the world preaching its benefits.
International Yoga Day 2017
The international yoga day 2017 will be the third time this day will be celebrated on the 21st of June. It is expected that the number of people celebrating this day will increase many folds since the last two times. The Ministry of AYUSH is looking to make this event even grander by ensuring that the maximum number of government departments take part in it. The yoga centres in the USA, UK, and Australia are especially excited and are gearing up to reach maximum people on this auspicious day.