June 21 was designated by the United Nations as The International Day of Yoga. Originating in ancient India, yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice. The idea of an International Day of Yoga was first proposed by the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in 2014. The first International Day of Yoga was observed around the world on 21 June 2015. 35,985 people, including PM Modi and dignitaries from 84 nations, performed 21 asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi, becoming the largest yoga class ever held, and with the largest number, 84,of participating nations.The UN says on its website that the “essence of yoga is balance – not just balance within the body or that between the mind and the body, but also balance in the human relationship with the world. Yoga emphasizes the values of mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance.”
This year’s theme is “Yoga for humanity.” The goal is “promoting sustainable lifestyle in harmony with planet Earth.” The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations is having “The World of Yoga” exhibition at the UN Delegates’ entrance in New York Cityfrom June 21 to July 1. Yoga goes back centuries, considered to be an ancient practice that originated 5,000 years ago. This year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading the Yoga Day celebrations from Mysuru. “Today yoga has become an international festival. Yoga is not limited to any individual, but it is for the whole of humanity,” he said.