3 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT WORLD YOGA DAY
The world has a new Yoga Day, and this is something that India can celebrate having originated. Designed to exhibit and project India’s growing ‘soft power’ on the world stage, it has captured the imagination of the world. In this piece, we tell you a few lesser known facts about it.
As if we were running out of days to celebrate (Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day and so on), World Yoga Day has jostled its way to the front and become an official ‘thing’ starting from June 21, 2015. If you happened to read the news on that day, you would know that Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, partook in a lengthy session of yoga with about 36,000 people laid out on yoga mats in front of India Gate in Delhi.
The world has nodded in approval, and it will become more and more popular as the years go by. So here are five things you probably didn’t know about World Yoga Day, just to bring you up to speed.
1. It was proposed by PM Narendra Modi
On September 27, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the UN General Assembly and stated that the world needed a Yoga Day, because the practice originated from India, and now it is fast becoming the go-to choice of workout for millions of people all around the world. ‘Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s tradition to the world,’ said the Prime Minister, and the rest of the world agreed.
2. Yoga as a path to peace
There is a misconception that yoga is just a physical practice of flexibility and muscle stretching. But the whole concept of yoga is that it takes the practitioner on an inner journey long enough to last his or her entire life. It’s not only a physical pursuit but also a psychological and philosophical one. It is a path to peace without the trappings of religion.
3. The Summer Solstice was chosen deliberately
The date for International Yoga Day – June 21 – was chosen because it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and it marks the transition to Dakshinayana, the six-month period where the Sun travels towards the South in the celestial sphere. The first full moon after the Summer Solstice is called Gurupoornima. On this day, Lord Shiva, the first yogi, is believed to have imparted his knowledge of yoga to the rest of mankind.