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Business News/ News / World/  International Yoga Day 2023: Date, events, theme, history and significance

International Yoga Day 2023: Date, events, theme, history and significance

International Yoga Day, observed on June 21, aims to promote physical and mental well-being through the ancient Indian practice of yoga. The 2023 theme is Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam or One Earth, One Family, One Future.

The origins of yoga can be traced back thousands of years to ancient India, where it was developed as a spiritual and physical disciplinePremium
The origins of yoga can be traced back thousands of years to ancient India, where it was developed as a spiritual and physical discipline

The word "Yoga" is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning "to join", "to yoke" or "to unite", symbolizing the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between human and nature, and a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition and has emerged as one of the most trusted means to boost physical and mental well-being.

In 1893, Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, America in which he introduced yoga to the Western world. After that, many eastern gurus and yogis spread yoga throughout the world, and people started accepting it. 

The 9th International Day of Yoga session will be led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN headquarters in New York from 8:00-9:00 AM EST on June 21.    

International Yoga Day 2023: Theme

The Theme for International Yoga Day 2023 is “Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam" which represents our shared desire for “One Earth, One Family, One Future" 

All themes of International Yoga Day so far: 

2015: Yoga for Harmony and Peace

2016: Yoga for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

2017: Yoga for Health

2018: Yoga for Peace

2019: Yoga for Heart

2020: Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family

2021: Yoga For Wellness

2022: 'Yoga for Humanity'

International Yoga Day: History

The origins of yoga can be traced back thousands of years to ancient India, where it was developed as a spiritual and physical discipline.

In September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed to observe the International Day of Yoga during his address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Addressing the 69th session of the UNGA, the prime minister said, “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature."

Due to his relentless efforts, the UNGA, on 11 December 2014, proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. In its resolution, the UNGA endorsed that "Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being apart from striking a balance between all aspects of life. The wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practising Yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population."

International Yoga Day 2023: Significance

 Yoga has gained global popularity over time, with millions of people practicing it as a means to improve their overall well-being and health in a holistic manner.

Centuries ago one of the most popular Sanskrit poets Bhartrhari, while highlighting the specialty of Yoga, said:

धैर्यं यस्य पिता क्षमा च जननी शान्तिश्चिरं गेहिनी

सत्यं सूनुरयं दया च भगिनी भ्राता मनः संयमः।

शय्या भूमितलं दिशोSपि वसनं ज्ञानामृतं भोजनं

एते यस्य कुटिम्बिनः वद सखे कस्माद् भयं योगिनः।।

Meaning that by regularly practising Yoga, a person can imbibe some very good qualities like courage which protects like a father, forgiveness as possessed by a mother & mental peace which becomes a permanent friend. Through regular practise of Yoga truth becomes our child, mercy our sister, self-control our brother, the earth becomes our bed & knowledge satiates our hunger.

Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises and mediation. It not only helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression but also improves flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance.

According to modern research studies, practicing yoga regularly can help improve lung function, reduce symptoms of asthma, and even improve the quality of life for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pranayama, the breathing exercises, can help improve lung capacity, oxygenation, and reduce stress, which can benefit respiratory health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) too has urged its member states to help their citizens reduce physical inactivity, which is among the top ten leading causes of death worldwide, and a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.




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Published: 20 Jun 2023, 06:04 AM IST
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