Yoga, India’s gift to the world, is an ancient practice that began some five thousand years ago. The idea of an International Day of Yoga was first proposed by the current Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2014. He stated:
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It 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 in wellbeing. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
A total of 177 nations co-sponsored the resolution, which was the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA resolution of such nature in a timeframe of 75 days to designate 21st June as International Yoga Day.
Yoga literally means to join, to unite, and we see the International Day of Yoga as the perfect platform to bring the world together in a spirit of unity and harmony.
Yoga is neither a religion, nor should it be seen as belonging to any particular religion. It is a science, the science of well-being, the science of integrating body & mind in harmony, the science of actualizing our true potential. Yoga is a potent tool to promote the message of brotherhood and amity in the finest Indian tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or “the entire world is one family”, and we can unite it with Yoga.
Over the last eight years, Indian Missions and Posts all over the world have channelized great enthusiasm and interest for yoga in their host countries. Special events at iconic global locations from Eiffel Tower to Mount Everest base camp have taken place with the participation of hundreds of thousands of Yoga enthusiasts.
The Embassy of India in Brussels has also been active in celebration of International Day of Yoga in Belgium and Luxembourg. This year, the celebration of International Day of Yoga had an added vitality as this is 75th year of India-Belgium diplomatic ties. A number of cities in Belgium – Liege, Enghien, Antwerp and Brussels joined in the celebrations. In Brussels, the Embassy in association with Art India and city of Brussels celebrated the International Day of Yoga in the serene environment of the iconic Bois de la Cambre park with hundreds of yoga enthusiasts in the presence of Mr. Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister of India and Mr. Santosh Jha, Ambassador of India. An Indian food festival along with Indian music and dance added to the festivities.
International Day of Yoga was also celebrated with much fanfare in Luxembourg in association with the Indian Association Luxembourg and Yoga Federation of Luxembourg at the historic Neumunster Abbey.
Yoga’s inclusion as world intangible cultural heritage by the UNESCO underlines its global significance and benefits for entire humanity. Yoga propagates the message – “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramaya” which means, “wishing all happiness and wishing all a disease free life.”