International Yoga Day

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 21, 2023, 13:40

On 27th September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of 'Yoga Day' in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. A record 177 member states subsequently approved the resolution proposed by India. The first International Yoga Day was celebrated globally on 21st June 2015.

Today, Yoga Day is practiced and celebrated in monumental ways across the globe and is becoming more and more popular. Considering its universal appeal, the United Nations declared 21st June as the International Day of Yoga on 11th December 2014.

Yoga Day 2023

International Yoga Day is celebrated to regard the physical and spiritual practice of yoga. This is a day when people are encouraged to participate in yoga on a regular basis. The practice of yoga can be traced back to ancient Indian traditions. Today, yoga helps people look after and develop their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

National Yoga Day was first celebrated on 21st June 2015. With over 35,000 people, including the Prime Minister himself, a 35 minutes yoga class was conducted at Rajpath, New Delhi, that day.

When is International Yoga Day Celebrated?

International Yoga Day is celebrated on 21st June every year. The summer solstice occurs on 21st June and has worthwhile relevance and significance in several parts of the world. It is also the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. 21st June was chosen at the suggestion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi due to this very reason, being that it is considered a culturally important day.

The Yoga Practice Memorial was organized by Indian Prime Minister Modi in September 2014. More than 35,000 people and officials from 84 countries joined PM Modi in New Delhi, India, to practice yoga asanas for 35 minutes at Rajpath.

Yoga Day 2022 Theme

Every year, a distinct theme is set for International Yoga Day. Based on the theme, the celebrations and talks are held locally, nationally, and globally. Ever since 21st June was announced as World Yoga Day, various organizations, schools, and corporates have hosted diverse events to spread awareness about yoga as an exercise. Yoga Day theme 2022 was "Yoga for Humanity."

International Yoga Day 2021 Theme

In 2021, the theme for Yoga Day was "Yoga for Well-Being." The theme emphasized the importance of yoga for an individual's well-being. Since 2021 was also the year when the world was battling the pandemic, the importance of the theme was realized by individuals and communities all around the world.

International Yoga Day - History

The history of Yoga Day can be linked to the ancient practice of yoga. It is a form of physical activity and a soulful practice that enables emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Yoga has been practiced in India since 3000 BC and has a significant role in ancient texts such as the Rigveda and the Upanishads.

The earliest forms of yoga include exercise, physical fitness, meditation, and spirituality. It is mentioned in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In the 4th century BCE, Patanjali Yoga Sutra defined yoga as calming fluctuations or patterns of consciousness. The Mahabharata text refers to three types of yoga:

  • Action (karma)
  • Dedication (bhakti)
  • Knowledge (Jnana)

These types together connect the body, soul, and mind. Although yoga has been practiced in India for a very long time, the first International Yoga Day in India was celebrated in 2015. The word 'yoga' is derived from Sanskrit, and its literal meaning is to 'connect' or 'unify.' It symbolizes the connection between the body and consciousness.

International Yoga Day Logo

International Yoga Day aims to draw attention to the many benefits of yoga around the world. The logo dedicated to the day shows folded hands that symbolize the amalgamation of individual and universal consciousness and depict the perfect harmony between mind and body, man and nature.

Next, on the Yoga Day logo, the brown leaves symbolize the elements of the earth, the green leaves symbolize nature, the blue represents the elements of water, the brightness symbolizes the elements of fire, and the sun depicts the source of inspiration and energy. This essence of harmony and peace of humankind is also reflected in several international yoga day quotes.

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FAQs on International Yoga Day

Q1. What is Yoga Day, and when is it celebrated?

Yoga Day is a day dedicated to recognizing and talking about the physical and spiritual practice of yoga. This day is celebrated on 21st June every year. On 27th September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of 'Yoga Day' to the UNGA for the first time.

Q2. What is the International Yoga Day theme 2023?

Yoga Day theme 2022 is "Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam." This year's theme invokes our collective aspiration for 'One Earth, One Family, and One Future.

Q3. When did India first celebrate Yoga Day?

India celebrated its first Yoga Day on 21st June 2015. Although the practice of yoga has been prevalent in the country since ancient times, the celebration of Yoga Day only took place after Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of Yoga Day to the UNGA on 27th September 2014.

Q4. Why is 21st June celebrated as Yoga Day?

21st June is celebrated as Yoga Day because it is the day of the summer solstice. It is the longest day of the year. Also, the day holds importance in various cultures and different parts of the world.

Q5. What are the different International Yoga Day themes since 2015?

Every year, International Yoga Day has a different theme. The previous year's Yoga Day theme is as follows:

  • 2015: Yoga for Harmony and Peace
  • 2016: Yoga for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • 2017: Yoga for Health
  • 2018: Yoga for Peace
  • 2019: Yoga for Heart
  • 2020: Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family
  • 2021: Yoga for Well-being
  • 2022: Yoga for humanity
  • 2023: Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam