It seems like there’s a “day” for everything lately – National Doughnut Day, International Siblings Day, or Hug Your Cat Day. While some of these international observances, as they are formally called, have been named by the United Nations, for example International Day of Peace, others aren’t so official. Hey, we’re not complaining. We love doughnuts and will take a free one any chance we can get! International Yoga Day, however, is one of those special days named by the UN.
In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of International Yoga Day to the UN. His pitch included these wise words : “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.”
The proposal was backed by 175 member states (states that are part of the UN), which was a record. Can you blame them? Everybody loves their yoga!
And so it was decided that June 21 would from there on out be International Yoga Day. This date was chosen because it is summer solstice, an important date in yogic tradition. In ancient times, yogis would perform sun salutations every morning as the sun rose, as this ritual symbolized spiritual consciousness – a connection between the inner being and the universe. While this tradition has fallen to the wayside, at least in the West, it is common for people to practice 108 sun salutations with the rising of the sun on June 21. (108 is a sacred religious number, found on rosaries and malas to help count prayers).
It’s up to you whether you decide to salute the sun at dawn on this upcoming International Yoga Day – we won’t blame you if you decide to sleep in and instead have a juicy practice in your living room or attend a free class in your neighborhood. There are always fun goings-on for this day, because who doesn’t love a little yoga?! If you know someone who’s wary of the practice, what better time to invite (or drag) them out to see what this beautiful practice is all about. Check in with your local studio to see if they’re hosting an event or know of any community gatherings. If there’s not much going on in your community, why not plan something yourself?! Take a peek at our post about How to Celebrate International Yoga Day In Your Community for more ideas, and let us know how it goes using #MyInnerFire.