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International Yoga Day

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Watch Video on Common Yoga Protocol.

Background

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity. Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as International Yoga Day by resolution 69/131. June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.

International Yoga Day aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

IDY logo

Folding of both hands in the logo Symbolise Yoga, the IYD logounion, which reflects the union of individual Consciousness with that of universal Consciousness, a perfect harmony between mind & body, man & nature; a holistic approach to health & well being. The brown leaves symbolise the Earth element, the green leaves symbolise the Nature, blue symbolises the Water element, brightness symbolises the Fire element and the Sun symbolise the source of energy and inspiration. The logo reflects harmony and peace for humanity, which is the essence of Yoga.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is very necessary and beneficial for all human beings if it is practiced by all on daily basis in the early morning. The benefits of Yoga include :-

  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved respiration,energy and vitality
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance

Theme for 2021

The theme for 2021 is "Yoga for well-being".

The Day will be marked at a time when COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend lives and livelihoods of people globally. 

Beyond its immediate impact on physical health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated psychological suffering and mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, as pandemic-related restrictions continue in various forms in many countries. This has highlighted the urgent need to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic, in addition to the physical health aspects. 

The message of Yoga in promoting both the physical and mental well-being of humanity has never been more relevant. A growing trend of people around the world embracing Yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression has been witnessed during the pandemic. Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. It is particularly helpful in allaying their fears and anxiety.

Recognizing this important role of Yoga, this year’s commemoration of the International Day of Yoga focuses on “Yoga for well-being” - how the practice of Yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual. 

The World Health Organization mentions yoga as a means to improve health in its Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: more active people for a healthier world.

UNICEF says kids can practice many yoga poses without any risk and get the same benefits that adults do. These benefits include increased flexibility and fitness, mindfulness and relaxation.

IDY 2021: Suggested activities in India

IDY-2021 presents on occasion for all organizations devoted to the promotion of Yoga to come forward and spread the message about the rewards of regular practice of yoga among the general public. Every individual stands to gain from the regular practice of yoga through long term benefits in health, happiness and well being. Yoga professionals can play an important role in making IDY an effective national movement for health and wellness. Here are some suggested activities to reach out to the people and induct them into the blissful world of yoga:

  • Issuing internal guidelines within the Organization/offices giving the background of the observation of the 7th International Day of Yoga (IDY 2021). This may be displayed prominently on their websites.
  • Using your social media platforms to spread for latest updates and information about IDY.
  • Displaying IDY logo on your website and uploading guidelines for IDY observance on your website.
  • Familiarizing the employee/staff with Common Yoga Protocol (CYP). Organising 15-day online training programmes (one hour per day) on CYP and ensuring maximum participation in the same, in a COVID-19 compliant manner.
  • Circulating related materials to all employees and partners, so that they can be further shared externally to raise awareness.
  • Organizing Yoga-related activities such as online lectures, workshops etc. by Yoga experts, starting at least 3 weeks ahead of IDY 2021.
  • Distributing Yoga attire, Yoga mats, and other Yoga related goodies duly having the logo of IDY 2021, to their staff, and encouraging everyone to practice and adopt Yoga.
  • Publishing Yoga and IDY-specific articles in Organizations/NGO’s official e-newsletter, bulletin, magazine etc.
  • Organising Yoga / CYP workshops involving Yoga experts.
  • Some online competitions on Yoga-theme may also be organized to create interest among the volunteers/employees/public, especially among the younger generation like quiz, essays etc.
  • Depending on the local circumstances, people may be encouraged to participate in IDY 2021 from their homes or in small gatherings, contingent on the COVID-19 related Government guidelines on the management of the pandemic – especially physical distancing norms and the use of basic protective measures such as masks and sanitizers etc.

Related resources

  1. UN page on IYD
  2. Common Yoga Protocol in multiple Indian languages
  3. Multimedia resources on Yoga
  4. Year Long Yoga


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