June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. Yoga, a 6,000 year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice having its origin in India, aims to transform the body and the mind.
The declaration of this day came after the call for the adoption of 21 June as World Yoga Day by PM Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated:
“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 within yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting a World Yoga Day.”
Narendra Modi further stated that “Yoga 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.” In suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the Yoga Day, 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. Govind Gurbani Yog Guru / Vice President of Rajasthan Swasthya Yog Parisad Jaipur India informed that on 21 June fifty thousand followers of Yoga will perform Yoga in Rajasthan.
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