International Yoga Day Celebrated in 192 countries

As many as 192 countries in the world joined India to celebrate the first International Yoga Day, proposed to United Nations by the Government of India. United Nations General Assembly, accepting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal of holding an international yoga day, declared June 21 as International Yoga Day, recognising the ancient Indian science’s ‘holistic approach to health and well-being.’ Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world.

In this handout photograph released by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) on June 21, 2015, thousands of participants perform yoga on Rajpath in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the first International Yoga Day as a "new era of peace", moments before he surprised thousands in New Delhi by taking to a mat himself to celebrate the ancient Indian practice.  AFP PHOTO/PIB/VIJAY KUMAR  ----EDITORS NOTE---- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT  - "AFP PHOTO/PIB/VIJAY KUMAR  " - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS-----------

On June 21, 2015, thousands of participants perform yoga on Rajpath in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the first International Yoga Day as a “new era of peace”, moments before he surprised thousands in New Delhi by taking to a mat himself to celebrate the ancient Indian practice.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led thousands in a mass yoga programme in the nation’s capital of New Delhi, after inaugurating the firstever International Yoga Day. Modi did stretches, bends and breathing exercises along with 35,000 people, including schoolchildren, bureaucrats and soldiers. Millions of others all over India observed the Yoga Day at similar events planned in hundreds of cities and towns.

It was a rare sight: After a brief speech to inaugurate International Yoga Day on June 21, 2015, the Prime Minister descended from a huge stage in front of the presidential palace and took off his glasses and his shoes. He quietly took his place before a sea of schoolchildren and others, mats neatly arranged in a checkerboard as far as the eye could see, to begin what was billed as the largest yoga demonstration in a single venue in history.

Modi said in his brief inaugural speech: “I believe that from June 21, through the International Day of Yoga, it is not just the beginning of a day but the beginning of a new age through which we will achieve greater heights of peace, goodwill and train the human spirit. India is the land where yoga was born and we must finally take the responsibility to spread it everywhere, starting from classrooms. This will help young people to move away from gun culture and violence.” Authorities said 35,000 people attended the 35-minute yoga session on Rajpath, aimed at setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest yoga class at a single venue. Guinness officials attended the event.

Yoga is a lifestyle, and should not be mistaken for only asanas, Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, of the Art of Living movement, said. A disease-free body,  quiver free breath, stress-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, obsession-free memory, ego that includes all, and soul which is free from sorrow are the signs of a perfect yogi.

Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, yoga means ‘union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit.’ Yoga is a
5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe in the most complex ways, these are actually only the most superficial aspect of this profound science of unfolding the infinite potentials of the human mind
and soul.

The science of yoga imbibes itself the complete essence of the Way of Life, including Gyan Yoga or philosophy, Bhakti Yoga or path of devotional bliss, Karma Yoga or path of blissful action, and Raja Yoga or path of mind control. Raja Yoga is further divided into 8 parts. At the heart of the Raja Yoga system, balancing and unifying these various approaches, is the practice of Yoga Asana. India is planning to observe the International Yoga day in a bigger way in the future. In all, 177 nations had agreed to Narendra Modi’s proposal to observe International Yoga Day, at the UN General Assembly in September 2014. The proposal was passed in December 2014 without any objections from any country. June 21 was then declared as International Yoga Day, and the day was observed by 192 countries•

Author: SubEditor

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