Since December 11, 2014, when the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 to be the International Day of Yoga, 175 nations have stepped on board, creating yoga events that honor the 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice.

The declaration came at the request of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed the UN General Assembly a few months earlier, stating, “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 wellbeing. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

Honoring Yoga on the Summer Solstice

He suggested the day fall on the summer solstice because “it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the word,” as well as in the yogic tradition. The summer solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana, thought to be a time when there is natural support for those pursuing spiritual practices during the six months between the summer and winter solstices. In India, Guru Purnima, a festival dedicated to spiritual teachers, takes place on the first full moon after the solstice, when the Hindu god Shiva, also known as Adiyogi Shiva, who was the patron god of yoga, meditation and the arts, is said to have passed on the knowledge of yoga to mankind.

5 Ways to Celebrate the International Day of Yoga

  • Study or chant the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the 196 Indian aphorisms that are one of the foundations of classical yoga philosophy.
  • Find a yoga event near you and dedicate your personal practice to someone in your thoughts.
  • Do sun salutations in honor of the summer solstice.
  • Place the Om symbol over your Facebook profile photo to take a stand for yoga, love, peace and a better world.
  • From 11am–9pm, join us at Bodhi Tree LIVE in Los Angeles to celebrate the launch of our exclusive Bodhi Tree Yoga Collection. This sneak peek event will feature yoga, meditation, music, fashion, special guests and Bodhi Talks. 

 

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About the author

Justine Amodeo is a contributing editor to Bodhi Tree and the editor of Pacific Coast Magazine and Montagemagazine.com. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, and has been a student of Kashmir Shaivism and the Feminine Wisdom Tradition work of Nisha Bhairavi for many years.