Yoga is a 5,000-year-old tradition from India that combines physical, mental and spiritual pursuits to achieve harmony of the body and mind. On December 11 in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. The declaration came at the behest of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated: "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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”. In Suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Narendra Modi had said: "the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.”
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first International Day of Yoga on June 21, 2015. The event also registered two Guinness World Records, one for 35,985 people practicing in a single yoga session at a single venue and the other for most nationalities participating in a yoga lesson. The event was recognized and celebrated across 170 countries including USA, China and Canada.
The second International Day of Yoga was held around the theme, ‘Connect with Youth’ to engage and seek participation from the younger audience. The Prime Minister led a mass yoga demonstration held at Chandigarh, where more than 30,000 people participated. Performance of yoga by 150 Divyang Jan along with the Prime Minister was one of the highlights. Around the world, 192 United Nation Member States observed IDY- 2016.
Ministry of Ayush in association with leading Yoga Institutions, Centre and State Governments, organized third International Day of Yoga on 'Yoga for Wellness' theme. The Prime Minister led a mass yoga demonstration held at Lucknow, where more than 51,000 yoga enthusiasts participated. Later in the year, the third International Conference on Yoga was held at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi from 10-11 October 2017, in an effort to convert IDY into a calendar of yoga activities spread over the entire year. The Conference registered more than 500 eminent participants including experts of Yoga and 80 foreign delegates.
The main event of 4th International Day of Yoga was held at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun (Uttarakhand). Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi led an estimated 50,000 volunteers to mark the 4th International Day of Yoga. The theme for 4th International Day of Yoga-2018 was ‘Yoga for Peace’. Over 100,000 people gathered at a Yoga session in Kota (Rajasthan) and performed Yoga together, earning the city a Guinness World Record.
The 5th International Day of Yoga was celebrated across India. The main event was held in Ranchi (Jharkhand). Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi led a crowd of over 40,000 people, who attended this event there. The theme of 5th International Day of Yoga was ‘Yoga for Heart’.
The theme of this year International Day of Yoga is ‘GharGhar me Yog’ which signifies the importance of staying at home and practice Yoga with family while observing social distancing. Staying at home would keep you away from contagious Corona virus and Yoga would help keep you and your family in good health.
National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune after celebrating 6th International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2020 continued educating Individuals on importance of yoga in daily life by conducting facebook live programs and webinars. Creatives was also released on NIN social media pages on various topics like Jal Neti/Nasal irrigation with techniques and practice guidelines to encourage people to practise at home, which is also an effective technique to prevent COVID-19. All the followers of NIN social media platforms were advised to perform asana, pranayama and meditation to keep them and their families physically and mentally healthy while staying at home during the lockdown period on account of COVID-19.
CCRYN was entrusted to prepare result of the Winners of MLMY contest for both National and International participants. Council coordinated with screening committee members and juri of renowned Yoga experts for evaluation of 35141 videos received in National contest and 2292 foreign videos received under International contest.
There were six categories in the contest (Youth <18 years, Adult> 18 years and Professional with Male and Female contestants considered separately). A screening panel of around 150 Yoga experts nominated by the Ministry of Ayush and evaluation jury of 15 members in India nominated by National Institutes and the Council for screening uploaded videos. Out of total of 35141 entries were received under Indian contest, 890 videos were shortlisted by the screening committee in 1st phase of screening. Videos were further shortlisted to 160 videos across 3 categories for the evaluation of Jury based on hierarchy of their score and ranking. Three separate Jury teams, having 5 renowned Yoga expert members in each jury were formed for evaluation of 3 categories. Each Jury member evaluated each shortlisted entry. Score of each entry was determined and the winner was chosen by the Chairperson of the Jury in consultation with the team.
International contest was overseen by the ICCR, through the respective Indian Missions. The number of countries from where entries were received was 130, apart from India. The Ministry of Ayush centrally compiled the data of all the entries received globally on 3 platforms, namely, through (i) Social Media uploads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, (ii) My Gov platform of the Government of India, and (iii) on the Contest Portal set up by the Ministry of Ayush. The Evaluation Panel finalized the winners from each of the 6 categories of the contest for the respective country. A total of 2292 foreign entries were received for evaluation which was evaluated by respective countries through respective Indian Embassies by nominating expert. A total of 624 foreign country winners and 18 Indian winners completed global prize across the six categories. These entries were screened by the Screening Committee and shortlisted 106 entries were screened by 3 member Jury panel. Winners of the global prize were announced on 4th August, 2020.
The Ministry of Ayush tried to bring more citizens into the fold of the activities of IDY 2020 than the previous years, thereby spreading the rewards of Yoga in terms of physical and emotional well-being among all sections of our society. However due to the pandemic nature of COVID-19, this year the mass gathering was avoided. With a deviation from the earlier approach, Ministry of Ayush encouraged people this year to practice Yoga at their home, with participation from the entire family by using social and digital media platforms like Youtube, Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc. for various engagements.
Millions of people in India and across the globe participated in the digital format of this International Day of Yoga celebration on the theme of ‘Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family’. Outside India, IDY was celebrated in all the UNGA member countries by the missions, Ministry of External Affairs in association with Ministry of Ayush and various Yoga institutions and organisations.
Consequent of the event, the importance of Yoga is being realized on the larger perspective, more students and practitioners of Yoga are looking for deeper understanding and how can Yoga influence their life, attitudes and well-being.
With the demonstrated benefits of Yoga towards immunity building and stress relief, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) is incessantly promoting Yoga through various social media platforms, webinar, talk, etc. to reinstate Yoga benefits in the mind of people.
As the pandemic situation continues to loom large, the approach to IDY in 2021 would be one of care and caution. Significant focus will be on awareness generation and mobilization through various digital media platforms. Physical congregation in a limited way can be considered if the situation allows it in June 2021. Therefore, the Ministry is working towards expanding the scope of digital/virtual activities through its platforms as well as in partnership with various stake-holders to make Yoga accessible to as many people as possible, even in the face of the constraints imposed by the pandemic.
Any individual or organisation can become an active stake-holder in the rewarding, and at the same time exciting in IDY movement too. Citizens, Yoga Professionals, CentralMinistries, State and UT Administrations, Government Departments, Yoga Organizations, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Private Companies, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), Schools, Colleges,Universities, Gram Panchayats, Municipal Corporations, Housing Societies, Civil Society Bodies etc. can all take up exciting stake-holding roles in the IDY observance. MoA keenly looks forward to collaborating with you and facilitating your efforts.
Taking cognizance of the current situation, it will not be advisable to organize events that require the congregation of people for observing the 7th International Day of Yoga. Therefore, with the objective of reminding the people across the country about the benefits of Yoga, and to build enduring public interest in the same, it is advised that maximum use of digital, virtual and electronic platforms be made this year, to spread the message of IDY. All stake-holders are invited to take up messaging to the public in the context of the upcoming IDY, by highlighting its importance and contribution to public health and encouraging the people to observe IDY 2021 by doing the Common Yoga Protocol at home with their families, on 21st June 2021. The message “Be with Yoga, Be at Home!” can be sent out as much as possible.