In its third year of having announced 21st June as International Yoga Day, practitioners from more than 100 countries had celebrated the day. Millions of people from around the world were seen rolling out their yoga mats to celebrate Yoga day.
The prime minister, to celebrate the occasion of International Day of Yoga, participated in a mass Yoga demonstration event in Lucknow, amidst pouring rain. Thousands of people gathered for the event at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan despite continuous rain in the city. Addressing the enthusiastic and vociferous gathering, the Prime Minister conveyed his greetings from Lucknow to all those joining the Yoga Day celebrations across India.
He said that today, Yoga has become a part of many people’s lives. “Yoga’s popularity is high even outside India; and Yoga has connected the world with India. I am glad to see several Yoga institutes taking shape over the last three years, and the demand for Yoga teachers is increasing. In addition to fitness, wellness is important and Yoga is a medium to achieve wellness.”
“Many countries which do not know our language, tradition, or culture, are now connecting to India through yoga,” Modi told a crowd of tens of thousands in the city of Lucknow, where he performed poses. “Today, there is no question mark over yoga in any part of the world. Changes occurred with time; different societies in the world made additions to yoga and led to its improvement as per place, time, situation and age.”
Urging everyone to make Yoga a part of their lives, the Prime Minister said that Yoga is about health assurance, and it is not even expensive to practice.
Earlier, welcoming the Prime Minister to Lucknow, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, said that Yoga is a part of our tradition and it integrates us.
Celebrity yoga guru Baba Ramdev led a crowd of 125,000 at an open-air ground In the western city of Ahmedabad to try to set a new Guinness World record for the largest session.
Outside India, Yoga was practiced on the Great Wall of China, and on the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu in Peru, at 2,400 metres above sea level. In France, yoga was performed in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower. In Abu Dhabi in UAE, more than 4,000 persons participated in mass yoga. In Herat, in Afghanistan, on the India Afghan Friendship Dam, Salma Dam, Yoga added a new aspect to India’s friendship. In a small country like Singapore, programs were organised in 70 places, with a week long campaign.
To mark the occasion, the UN has released ten stamps. A ‘Yoga Session with Yoga Masters’ was also organised at the UN headquarters, where the staff of the UN and diplomats from across the world participated.
Origin of Yoga Day…
There was once a time when yoga was practised only by sages and monks, but it has now become a part of daily life. Not only in India but Yoga Day has now become a worldwide phenomenon, thanks to PM Narendra Modi.
Modi, who credits his strict yoga regime for his ability to work long hours on little sleep has been spearheading an initiative to reclaim the practice as a historic part of Indian culture since his government came to power in 2014. He has set up a ministry dedicated to promoting yoga and other traditional practices and persuaded the United Nations to create a dedicated International Yoga Day in 2015. Modi in his UN General Assembly address suggested the date of 21 June for celebrating Yoga Day, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares special significance in many parts of the world.
The UNGA held informal consultations on the draft resolution entitled “International Day of Yoga”, on 14 October 2014. The draft resolution received broad support from 177 Member States who sponsored the text and was adopted without a vote. This initiative found support from many global leaders.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies 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.”
— Narendra Modi’s speech at UN General Assembly