Yoga, an ancient discipline, is one of the best practices you can adopt for both physical and mental wellbeing. As a combination of careful body postures and meditation, yoga can help you achieve harmony of the mind, body, and soul. In fact, it can boost your immunity and resistance to common illnesses, stress and anxiety – just what you need these days.

Keeping the importance of yoga in mind, International Yoga Day is observed on the 21st of June every year in many countries around the world, including India. The event, which is the brainchild of PM Narendra Modi, was first celebrated on 21st June 2015. Since then, on this day, India and other countries organise many yoga-related events to increase awareness about the positive effects of this holistic practice.

Read on to know more about it.

International Yoga Day 2024 – Theme

International Yoga Day is an important event that is celebrated on 21st June across the globe with great enthusiasm. This year, the Ministry of Ayush has coined the theme “Yoga for Humanity”. The theme was selected with the aim to activate and inspire the yoga community for sustainability and global development. In India, the city of Mysore in Karnataka is all set to host the main event on 21st June 2024.

The International Yoga Day 2024 theme was announced by PM Narendra Modi on 30th May 2024 in his monthly “Mann Ki Baat” address. The theme was selected keeping in mind the important role yoga has been playing in dealing with COVID-19. This holistic practice not only benefits the mind and body, but also inculcates love, generosity and compassion towards others.

Now, as you already know, the pandemic has been one of the most trying times for many, since 2020. Apart from affecting physical health, it caused a range of psychological and mental health issues. Pandemic-related restrictions led to stress, anxiety, and depression, and dealing with these issues proved to be challenging. It was during this time that more people around the world embraced yoga and meditation to promote their physical and emotional wellbeing. These holistic practices are still playing an important role in the recuperation of COVID-19 patients in isolation.

Hence, focusing on the theme “Yoga for Humanity”, India will organize special programs for children, women, specially-abled people as well as transgenders this year. A large turnout is expected in villages/gram panchayats as well, thanks to Common Service Centres (CSC) that are promoting the Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) to spread awareness about the benefits of yoga among the masses.

Origin and Significance

On September 27th, 2014, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, first proposed the idea of celebrating a day as “Yoga Day” across the globe. He put forth his suggestion during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Thereafter, on 11th December 2014, the United Nations declared 21st June as International Yoga Day. The proposal was endorsed and approved by 175 member states.

Since then, International Yoga Day has been playing a significant role in boosting awareness about the many benefits of yoga among people around the world. The date 21st June was selected as it is the summer solstice or the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Hence, the day already holds great importance in many countries. On this day, the sun starts moving from north to south. This transition period reportedly is a good time for meditation and yogic practices. It is believed that any spiritual practice done during this period will be supported by nature and yield desired results. The summer solstice is also the day when homage is paid to Sadgurus.

International Yoga Day highlights the importance of yoga and the benefits it offers to the mind and body. If practiced regularly, yoga can boost energy levels and concentration, purify your internal organs, help you maintain a healthy weight, and improve posture. If you are dealing with stress and anxiety, a combination of yoga and meditation can calm your mind and enhance your overall mental health.

How is International Yoga Day Celebrated?

This year marks the 8th annual International Yoga Day. As far as celebrations go, large groups of people usually gather in a pre-decided place and perform different yoga asanas together. Be it in India or any other part of the world, the day is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal. Many countries, like the USA, Japan, China, Ireland, and Greece, have participated in the Yoga Day celebrations in the past.

As a part of India’s 75 years of independence or “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, special celebrations are being planned for the upcoming International Yoga Day, 2024. The country will host a mass Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) demonstration on 21st June 2024 in as many as 75 national-level iconic sites. Additionally, the states in India will host special yoga events in 75 important locations.

Although International Yoga Day has a short history, it is celebrated with full enthusiasm in many places around the world. On this day, yogis from different countries come together not only to celebrate the practice of yoga but also to encourage others to make yoga a part of their everyday routine. Hence, if you believe in healthy living truly and are looking to promote your physical and mental well-being, practice yoga and meditation regularly, it will do wonders.