What is International Yoga Day 2023?
International Yoga Day is a global event that celebrates the ancient practice of yoga and its benefits for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It is observed every year on June 21, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and a day of special significance in many cultures.
The idea of International Yoga Day was proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. He said, “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 nature.”
The proposal was supported by 177 member states and adopted unanimously by the UN in December 2014. Since then, International Yoga Day has been celebrated across the world with various events and activities, such as mass yoga sessions, workshops, seminars, exhibitions, competitions, concerts, and online campaigns.
Why is this year’s International Yoga Day 2023 theme “Yoga for Humanity”?
The theme for this year’s International Yoga Day is “Yoga for Humanity“. This theme reflects the urgent need to address the mental health challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused immense suffering and distress for millions of people around the world. Beyond its impact on physical health, the pandemic has also exacerbated psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, and isolation.
Yoga can be a powerful tool to cope with these challenges and to promote resilience, healing, and harmony. Yoga can help us to calm our minds, relax our bodies, boost our immunity, enhance our mood, foster our creativity, and strengthen our connection with ourselves and others. Yoga can also inspire us to adopt a more sustainable and compassionate lifestyle that respects the environment and all living beings.
As the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for this year’s International Yoga Day, “Yoga can support us to live healthier lives while protecting our planet’s fragile ecosystems. It can help us cultivate inner awareness that leads us to live more consciously and mindfully. And it can help us build solidarity within and among nations.”
Soothe Your Mind and Body: Discover the Peaceful Child’s Pose in Yoga
There are many different asanas (yoga poses) that are included in yoga. Some of the most common asanas include:
- Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): This pose is a great way to stretch the back, hamstrings, and shoulders.
- Plank pose (Chaturanga Dandasana): This pose strengthens the arms, core, and back.
- Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana I): This pose improves balance, strength, and flexibility.
- Triangle pose (Trikonasana): This pose stretches the sides of the body and opens the hips.
- Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana): This pose strengthens the back and stretches the spine.
- Corpse pose (Savasana): This pose is a great way to relax and de-stress.
- Child’s Pose is known for its calming and grounding effects on the body and mind. It can help relieve stress, fatigue, and anxiety, as well as gently stretch the spine and hips.
These are just a few of the many asanas that are included in yoga. The specific asanas that are practiced will vary depending on the type of yoga that is being practiced. For example, Ashtanga yoga is a vigorous style of yoga that includes many challenging asanas, while Hatha yoga is a more gentle style of yoga that focuses on alignment and breath.
It is important to start with beginner-friendly asanas and gradually work your way up to more advanced poses. It is also important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. If you are feeling pain, stop the pose and consult with a yoga instructor.
How can you celebrate International Yoga Day?
There are many ways you can join the celebration of International Yoga Day and experience the benefits of yoga for yourself and your community. Here are some suggestions:
- Participate in a local or online event organized by your government, embassy, yoga studio, school, workplace, or community group. You can find a list of events on the official website of International Yoga Day: https://www.un.org/en/observances/yoga-day
- Learn yoga from the masters by watching a live demonstration and lecture by renowned yoga experts at the UN Headquarters in New York on June 20 from 5:30-7:30 pm EST. You can watch it online on UN WebTV: http://webtv.un.org/
- Practice yoga at home or outdoors with your family or friends. You can follow a standardized set of yoga practices called the Common Yoga Protocol (CYP), which is designed for beginners as well as advanced practitioners. You can download the CYP booklet or watch the video here: https://www.mygov.in/campaigns/international-yoga-day/
- Share your yoga story or experience on social media using the hashtags #InternationalYogaDay #YogaDay #YogaForHumanity #Yoga4ClimateAction #Yoga4Peace
- Explore the world of yoga by visiting a digital exhibition at the UN Delegates’ entrance from June 21 to July 1. The exhibition showcases the annual celebrations of International Yoga Day across different countries and cultures. You can also view it online here: https://www.un.org/en/observances/yoga-day/exhibition
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- Learn more about yoga and its history, philosophy, science, and benefits by reading books, articles, blogs, or podcasts on yoga. You can also watch documentaries or movies on yoga or listen to music inspired by yoga.
International Yoga Day is a unique opportunity to celebrate the ancient wisdom of yoga and its relevance to our modern world. Yoga can help us to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and to create a more peaceful, healthy, and harmonious society. Let us join hands and practice yoga for humanity!