International Yoga Day 2024: History, Theme, NGOs Work, Why Celebrate etc.

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International Yoga Day is celebrated on every 21 June around the globe to promote and raise awareness about yoga. Nowadays yoga has gained so much popularity due to its endless benefits and promoting universal theory of unity between mind and body. Yoga is a disciplined practice that connects your body, soul and mind, bringing harmony and peace. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj which means to unite or to join. Yoga is widely recognized and practised globally, as it brings serenity and promotes good health. Within yoga, various postures, breathing exercises, asanas, and meditation techniques help individuals to stay calm.

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In this article, we will talk about the theme, importance, advantages, how we can contribute to celebrating this ancient practice and what is the involvement of NGOs and how they contribute in this social event to reach higher mountains.

What is International Yoga Day 2024?

International Yoga Day serves as a reminder of the age-old traditions, techniques and principles of yoga. To promote this day, people celebrate in parks, schools, fitness centres or online communities where people connect through online mode to do different types of yoga techniques and exercises on their mats, uniting people of diverse nationalities and encouraging brotherhood. Seminars, Webinars, Events and Discussions are held to increase people’s knowledge of the importance or benefits of yoga and discuss different types of asanas and traditional methods of practising yoga to remain healthy and stressful.

The main objective of celebrating International Yoga Day 2024 is to: 

  1. Raise awareness about yoga for every individual and how it helps to remain healthy and overall well-being by combining physical activities, meditation, and spiritual principles. 
  2. Yoga helps in flexibility, strength, emotional stability, focused mind, and breathing exercises which help in preventing many diseases and contribute to overall fitness.
  3. The versatile language, yoga surpasses the boundaries of religion, culture, caste, gender, and nation and brings all the people together for a healthy body with a peaceful mind.

The theme of International Yoga Day 2024

Yoga for Women’s Empowerment is the theme for International Yoga Day which focuses on the mental as well as physical health of women. The theme is devoted to women to have overall well-being, boost confidence and have a positive impact on their health. Yoga is beneficial for women as it will ease suffering like back pain, hormonal and muscle problems, increase flexibility, and body balance and enhance bone density. Therefore, a strong and confident woman can do all the work effectively and efficiently. It also balances the emotions and reduces stress which helps in a calm and focused mind through various techniques such as deep breathing and meditation.

History of International Yoga Day

International Yoga Day originated on 27 September 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) addressed yoga as 5,000 years old and it is an invaluable gift from Indian traditions. It is not only an exercise but a way to connect body and mind, thought and actions, and harmony between man and nature. This idea quickly gained acceptance. On 11th December 2014, UNGA declared 21st June as International Yoga Day because it is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and a special day for some parts of the world.

The first International Yoga Day will be celebrated on 21 June 2015 at Rajpath, New Delhi where PM Narendra Modi and dignitaries from different nations were present to execute 21 yoga postures for 35 minutes becoming the largest yoga class ever held with 35,985 people participating with 84 different nationalities celebrated together. This will be the 10th International Yoga Day which should be celebrated enthusiastically and mark this day remarkably.

International Yoga Day Benefits

Performing yoga regularly is beneficial for overall body health which includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Here are some benefits that keep our body healthy:-

  1. Physical benefits-
  • Enhances flexibility and muscle strength.
  • Enriches respiration, energy levels, and vitality.
  • Maintains a balanced metabolism.
  • Provides relief from chronic pain like arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
  • Helps reduce weight and lower blood pressure.
  • Improves cardiovascular health by lowering the risk of heart disease.
  1.  Mental Benefits:
  •  Reduces stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue
  • Stimulates mental stability and clarity
  • Expands body awareness
  • Sharpens focus and concentration
  • Enhances sleep rate

3. Emotional Benefits:

  • Expands self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Nourishes a feeling of mental and emotional peace
  • Promotes overall well-being and quality of life
  • Helps in handling the manifestation of trauma and aids in healing

4. Spiritual Benefits:

  • Fosters a deep connection between mind, body and spirit
  • Allows practitioners to experience a sense of inner serenity
  • Promotes spiritual growth, compassion, and equanimity
  • Can provide more in-depth insight into purpose and goals

How to celebrate International Yoga Day?

  • Participate in Yoga Sessions:  There are many fitness centres, studios, clubs which organize yoga sessions or mass yoga event on the 21st June and a lot of people participate to feel the harmony and peace of yoga.
  • Discover Asans: On International Yoga Day we can learn new asanas which we may have never learned before like hatha, vinyasa, kundalini, and Iyengar asanas and there is an opportunity to learn and explore more about yoga asans.
  • Philosophy of Yoga: Apart from physical postures or asanas, there are also traditional stories or philosophies of yoga which can be explored in different sessions, webinars or seminars to learn more about yoga.
  • Volunteer in Teaching Yoga: People who cannot attend offline sessions can participate in online sessions like live streaming or virtual meetings held by yoga instructors or health communities, or upload videos online so they can watch from there.
  •  Social Media Engagement: You can share your yoga experience online on social media platforms by uploading stories, posts or reels with hashtags like #InternationalYogaDay #FellingGood #YogaDay2024 etc.

How NGOs are involved in International Yoga Day?

1. Planning Yoga Fairs:

Many NGOs, especially those in health, wellness, and community development, organize massive yoga sessions, events, campaigns, workshops, etc. to spread awareness about the blessings of this ancient practice from urban to rural areas.

2. Running Yoga Outreach Programs:

Many NGOs run outreach programs mainly in rural areas and on International Yoga Day, they provide free yoga lessons, distribute educational material on yoga, and also raise awareness about the benefits of yoga and how yoga can help to make our daily life more fascinating.

3. Collaborating with Government Programmes:

NGOs collaborate with government bodies, local authorities, and other members to increase the reach and impact of Yoga Day, ensuring a broader audience is informed about the event.  

4. Gathering resources for Yoga Initiatives:

On International Yoga Day, NGOs get the opportunity to raise funds for yoga projects and other projects that will benefit underprivileged people; the establishment of yoga centers, yoga teachers, educational programs, and yoga classes at a minimum rate.

5. Endorsing Yoga for Certain Purpose:

Some NGOs promote yoga for specific reasons such as stress management, yoga for women empowerment, and healthcare. On International Yoga Day, we can prove that all these reasons make sense because yoga has immense benefits if practised regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the origin and essence of International Yoga Day?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed International Yoga Day in his 2014 UN speech in which he highlighted the benefits of yoga and selected the 21st of June as International Yoga Day because it is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere.

What is the theme for International Yoga Day 2024?

This year’s theme is “Yoga for Women Empowerment” in which the focus is on the health of women and the benefits of doing yoga for women as it will boost their confidence and stay healthy.

 What are the goals of celebrating International Yoga Day? 

The main goal of celebrating International Yoga Day is to raise awareness about yoga, and how it helps in day-to-day life by keeping fit and healthy, globally practiced, and creating peace, harmony, and brotherhood among different nations of people.

How do NGOs contribute to the promotion of International Yoga Day?

NGOs can hold large-scale events, workshops, and seminars, and conduct outreach programs. Collaborate with the government to reach more people, raise funds for the yoga project, and share the philosophy or history of yoga.

What are the advantages of doing yoga regularly?

By doing yoga daily, weight management is maintained, flexibility and enthusiasm are boosted, the mind remains focused, emotions remain stable, and, heals from trauma and chronic pain.

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Manya Bhatia

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