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.