Meaning of Yoga:
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj. Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. It is a 5000 year old Indian body of knowledge. It is a system of raising your ability to perceive, to enhance and to realise your ultimate nature. Yoga is the most profound exploration of the very mechanics of life.
International Day of Yoga (अंतर्राष्ट्रीय योग दिवस) or commonly and unofficially referred to as Yoga Day, is celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in 2015. An international day for yoga was declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 11 December 2014.
History of International Day of Yoga:
The idea of an International Day of Yoga was the first proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi during his speech at the UNGA, on 27 September 2014. He stated:
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; 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.”
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN address suggested the date of 21 June, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (shortest in the southern hemisphere) and shares special significance in many parts of the world.
The first International Yoga Day:
The first International Yoga Day was celebrated all over the world on 21 June, 2015. The day was celebrated at Rajpath and the arrangements were made by Ministry of AYUSH. Narendra Modi and dignitaries from 84 nations participated in the celebrations and performed 21 yoga asanas for 35 minutes.
The day devoted to yoga was observed by millions across the world. NCC cadets entered the Limca Book of Records for the "largest yoga performance simultaneously by a single uniformed youth organisation" by performing at multiple venues
The celebration that happened at Rajpath has established two Guinness world records. The first one was for being the world's largest yoga class as it featured 35,985 people and the second one was for having maximum number of participating nationalities, that is, 84.
International Yoga Day 2017:
72 students and teachers from the City Montessori School of Lucknow, India will be performing yogic exercises at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the occasion of International Day of Yoga, 21 June 2017.
This year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Lucknow where he is performing yoga along with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and 51,000 participants at Ramabhai Ambedkar Sabha Sthal.