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1st International Yoga Day

21/06/2015

The world is celebrating the 1st International Yoga Day today — an initiative by the Modi government. In fact PM Narendra Modi even participates in a yoga event at New Delhi’s majestic Rajpath (ceremonial boulevard). Around 37,000 people are expected to join this function which heads to be the world’s largest Yoga Demonstration at a single venue.

international yoga day

Yoga programmes are being held at various places simultaneously across the country, and worldwide more than 190 countries are participating in the commemorations to mark the International Yoga Day. 

As we are based in Rishikesh – which is with its ca. 150 ashrams and yoga schools the world’s Yoga capital – and have experienced the benefits of Yoga ourselves, we’d like to direct you to a couple of excellent articles on Rishikesh and Yoga:

Indian Awakenings – by CNN journalist Jessica Ravitz: CLICK HERE

Unplugging in the Unofficial Capital of Yoga – by The New York Times journalist Mary Pilon: CLICK HERE

Rishikesh’s history is filled with religious and mythological anecdotes, and with its many temples and shrines it attracts tourists and devotees throughout the year. Only in 1968, when the iconic British band, The Beatles, visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, Rishikesh and yoga became popular worldwide. 

“By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations.”
Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General

June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. Yoga, a physical, mental and spiritual practice having its origin over 6000 years ago in India aims to integrate the body and the mind. 

In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Narendra Modi had said that the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. From the perspective of yoga, the Summer Solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana. The first full moon after Summer Solstice is known as Guru Poornima. According to Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, in the yogic lore, the first transmission of yoga by Shiva, the first Guru, is said to have begun on this day. Dakshinayana is also considered a time when there is natural support for those pursuing spiritual practices…

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international yoga day worldwide


Sources: United Nations, New York Times, Wikipedia
Photos: Yoga in Rishikesh by Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times, Beatles in Rishikesh (by Special Arrangement)

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