(Reuters) – The United Nations on Thursday declared that June 21 will be International Day of Yoga, adopting a measure proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said yoga lets people “discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly approved by consensus a resolution establishing a day to commemorate the ancient practice, which Modi called for in September during his inaugural address to the world body.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the International Day of Yoga would bring attention to yoga’s holistic benefits.
“Yoga can contribute to resilience against non-communicable diseases. Yoga can bring communities together in an inclusive manner that generates respect,” Ban said in a statement.
“Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress,” he said.
Introducing the draft resolution, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukherji said yoga embodied the unity of mind and action. It also had a role in promoting sustainable development, he said, noting that the draft text had received broad support from member-states.
He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mooted the proposal for observance of an International Day of Yoga during his maiden address to the UNGA on September 27 this year.
“We need to change our lifestyles. Energy not consumed is the cleanest energy. We can achieve the same level of development, prosperity and well-being without necessarily going down the path of reckless consumption. It doesn’t mean that economies will suffer; it will mean that our economies will take on a different character. For us in India, respect for nature is an integral part of spiritualism. We treat nature’s bounties as sacred. Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; 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. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” Mr Modi had said.
“It is a matter of great satisfaction to all of us in this Assembly that today, less than 90 days after the proposal for an International Yoga Day was made, we have the honour to introduce before you a very forward looking, simple, yet substantive, draft Resolution calling for establishing the International Day of Yoga,” Mr Mukherji said.
“The Draft Resolution itself is premised on six preambular and four operative paras. The preambular paragraphs draw from mostly agreed language, and recognize that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being, while acknowledging that wider dissemination of yoga’s benefits would be beneficial for the health of the world population. The main operative paragraph proclaims 21st June each year as the International Day of Yoga, while inviting all of us, member and observer states, international and regional organizations, including NGOs, civil society and individuals to join in and raise awareness about its benefits,” he said.