International Yoga Day

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International Yoga Day
International Yoga Day 2015 in New Delhi.jpg
International Yoga Day 2015 in New Delhi
Official name International Day of Yoga - IDY
Also called Yoga Day, World Yoga Day
Observed by Worldwide
Type International
Significance official United Nations celebration of health and fitness, Indian Soft power
Celebrations practice of yoga, meditation, spreading awareness about yoga and adopting it in one's lifestyle by discussing its benefits
Date 21 June
Next time 21 June 2020 (2020-06-21)
Frequency annual
First time 21 June 2015
Related to Yoga, Meditation, cultural performances, Health and fitness

International Yoga Day (Hindi: अंतर्राष्ट्रीय योग दिवस: Antarāshtiya Yog Divas; IAST: Antarāṣṭrīya Yog Divas), or simply Yoga Day, is celebrated annually on June 21 and was declared to be internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 11, 2014.[1] Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline that originated in India. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN Address suggested the date of June 21, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares special significance in many parts of the world.[2]


Prior to the UN declaration of June 21 as International Day of Yoga, formal and informal groups of yoga teachers and enthusiasts celebrated World Yoga Day on various other dates.[3] It was in a conference organized at The Art of Living International Centre that a proposal for observing June 21 as the World Yoga Day was made.

The conference, titled ‘Yoga: A Science for World Peace’, was held December 4 and 5, 2011. It was organized by The Art of Living Foundation and S-VYASA University in Bengaluru jointly with the Yoga Portuguese Confederation of Lisbon, Portugal. Though the idea of observing World Yoga Day originated in 2001, this was the first time yoga gurus from India were endorsing it in large numbers.[4][5][6] A proclamation was signed for having the United Nations and UNESCO declare June 21 as World Yoga Day.[7][8] Avadhut H. H. Jagat Guru Dileepji Maharaj started World Yoga Day movement in New York since 1999. In 2007 he organized World Yoga Festival at the Consulate General of India, New York in order to make a mass movement around the world. On June 21, 2009 Guru Dileepji signed the agreement with Portuguese Confederation of Yoga to support the global movement of International Day of Yoga. On June 21, 2015 Guru Dileepji inaugurated the opening ceremony of the World Yoga Community which is a not-for-profit organization in New York, USA. Vision of World Yoga Community is to promote yogic teachings globally.

The declaration of this day came after the call for the adoption of June 21 as International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014[9][10] wherein he stated:[11]

"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 us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."

— Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly

UN Declaration

Yoga teacher training in India

On December 11, 2014, India's Permanent Representative Asoke Mukherji introduced the draft resolution in UNGA. The draft text received broad support from 177 Member States who adopted the text without a vote. This initiative found support from many global leaders. A total of 175 nations co-sponsored the resolution and had the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such nature.[12]

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. Lord Shiva, the first yoga practitioner (Adi Yogi) is said to have begun imparting the knowledge of yoga to the rest of mankind on this day and became the first guru (Adi Guru).[13] Dakshinayana is also considered a time when there is natural support for those pursuing spiritual practices.[14] When proposing the date, Prime Minister Modi said that the date was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, having special significance in many parts of the world.

Following the adoption of the UN Resolution, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lauded the efforts of Narendra Modi, stating that "It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without state patronage. Yoga has existed so far almost like an orphan. Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world."[15] Emphasizing the importance of yoga, Ravi Shankar said, “Yoga makes you like a child again. When there is yoga and vedanta, there is no lack, impurity, ignorance and injustice. We need to take yoga to the doorstep of everyone and free the world of misery.”

2015 International Day of Yoga

Indian Navy personnel perform yoga on board INS Jalashwa in 2015

The first International Day of yoga was observed world over on June 21, 2015. The ministry of AYUSH made the necessary arrangements in India. About 35985 people, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a large number of dignitaries from 84 nations, performed 21 Yoga asanas (postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi. The day devoted to Yoga was observed by millions across the world.[16] NCC cadets entered in Limca Book of Records for the 'Largest Yoga performance simultaneously by a single uniformed youth organisation' at multiple venues on International Day of Yoga.[17]

The event at Rajpath established two Guinness world records awarded to Ministry of Ayush received by Ayush Minister Shripad Yesso Naik:

  • Largest Yoga Class (35985 people)[18]
  • Nationalities Participating (84 nations)[19]


The All India Muslim Personal Law Board protested against Surya Namaskar being against Islam and was worried about a "Hindu agenda" at work.[20][21] Following this, the 'Surya namaskar' was removed from the official yoga program with the government saying chanting 'shlokas' during International Yoga Day were not compulsory and appealed to Muslims to participate in the event. Shripad Naik, Minister for AYUSH, said Muslims can take the name of Allah instead of reciting 'shlokas' during the event.[21]


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  21. 21.0 21.1 "Muslims can take the name of Allah's name".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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