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Thousands of people participated in International Day of Yoga last year. Wikimedia
  • International Yoga Day is celebrated on 21 June 2016 every year after the unanimous resolution was passed by UN General Assembly in 2014
  • This year’s Yoga Day saw active participation from 30,000 people who joined the PM in Chandigarh
  • The Day was internationally recognized with the UN Building in NY by flashing yoga poses on its walls

International Yoga Day is a product of diligent endeavors by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the support of his government. The idea was first introduced by Modi on 27th September, 2014, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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 the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being . Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day”, said Narendra Modi. He suggested the date to be 21st June since it is the longest day in the northern hemisphere, and holds special importance in many countries.



Yoga training. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

The Prime Minister celebrated the 2nd International Yoga Day in Chandigarh on Tuesday, 21st June 2016. Encouraging the nation to participate, Modi reiterated that this practice is essential to the health of the body as well as the mind, and not just a superstitious religious tradition. “Just as the mobile phone is now a part of your life, make yoga too a part of your life,” he said, inviting tumultuous applause. Despite a few thundershowers early morning, a huge turnout of yoga enthusiasts was witnessed with the event starting at 4 AM in the morning.

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Very tight security was ensured in Chandigarh’s sector 1 area. Around 96,000 enthusiasts had applied to practice yoga with Modi, and 30,000 were selected – 10,000 each from Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana. These selected people had also undergone training for the past 15 days to finally join in with the Prime Minister.

The focus for this year’s International Yoga Day was to encourage participation from the Divyangs, a term coined by the Modi government to address the differently-abled people. People from all walks of life, including college students, security personnel, and the elderly showed tremendous interest in the event that was held.


Richard Rahul Verma performing yoga. Image courtesy: ANI News

The Prime Minister’s Cabinet and other officials joined in on the effort. BJP Chief Ministers of various states were noticed holding events in their respective states. Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani participated in various yoga events to pledge support. Even the Us Ambassador to India, Richard Rahul Verma was photographed doing yoga with his colleagues at the US Embassy in Delhi. Baba Ramdev held his special event at Faridabad in Haryana.

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This day was marked with many news websites and newspapers publishing important facts about yoga, and proceedings worldwide. Apps were launched for smartphones to help people incorporate yoga into their day to day activities.

International Yoga Day also received international support from various countries like The US, Egypt, Russia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and The UK, where events were held for thousands of people. The UN Building in New York was seen flashing holograms of the yoga pose against their walls to mark the day.

The official website for International Day of Yoga hosted interactive puzzles and quizzes to engage participation. The government has been strategically publicizing this ancient Indian practice since a long time now. International awards and certificates have also been announced to commend yoga experts over the globe.

-by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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