Wednesday, June 15, 2016
The Second International Day of Yoga
On June twenty-first, yoga lovers will gather at the iconic Times Square in New York city, in sixteen Bulgarian cities, at the Al-Azhar park in Cairo, in Shanghai, China, and in many other places, both large and small, around the world to celebrate the Second Annual International Day of Yoga (IDY.)
When the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), voted on December 11, 2014, in favour of a resolution declaring June 21 (the summer solstice, being the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and having special significance in many parts of the world,) it gave birth to the International Day of Yoga. Over 175 countries, including USA, China and Canada, co-sponsored the resolution, giving it the largest number of co-sponsors for any UNGA resolution of such a nature.
The largest IDY celebrations this year are to be held in Chandigarh, India, where an expected 30,000 participants are to be joined by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Indeed, yoga has experienced an enormous explosion of interest in its country of origin. India has a Federal ministry of Yoga (and Indigenous Health systems,) and many millions of practitioners—civil servants, police forces, convicts and school children—are exposed to its teachings.
In Canada, the festival will be observed in all major cities and scores of smaller places, with the largest outdoor gathering of yogis to occur in Vancouver, B.C. Last year, so many participants showed up that Burrard Bridge was closed. British Columbia premier Christy Clark’s government partnered with yoga-attire giant Lululemon and other businesses to stage was called the largest IDY festival outside of India.
Interestingly, the IDY is becoming not just an occasion to stretch ones muscles, but also an opportunity to discover alternate health therapies, holistic philosophies, music and even cooking. For example, a special lecture series relating Yoga to the achievement of Sustainable Development goals is to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this year.
With IDY celebrations spreading throughout the world, it will be interesting how this special day will grow and change in the coming years.