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The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
While addressing the 69 session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, 2014, the Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi urged the world community to adopt an International Day of Yoga. “Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well-being. Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and Nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us to deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” Shri Modi said. On December 11, 2014, the 193 member UNGA approved the proposal by consensus with a record 177 co-sponsoring countries a resolution to establish 21 June as “International Day of Yoga”. In its resolution, the UNGA recognised that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing Yoga for the health of the world population. Yoga also brings harmony in all walks of life and thus, is known for disease prevention, health promotion and management of many lifestyle related disorders.
Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.