Yoga, an ancient mind and body practice that originated in India, was widely practiced across the globe for centuries. United Nations, though, recognised it officially only a few years ago.

On December 11, 2014, UN-recognised its universal appeal and officially proclaimed June 21 as International Yoga Day following which the first International Yoga Day was celebrated across the world on June 21, 2015. The International Yoga Day aims to raise awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga.

The word 'yoga,' which is derived from Sanskrit, means to attach, join or unite. It symbolises the union of the individual self with supreme self. Yoga is mentioned in the Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. But in the present day, the knowledge of Yoga continues to spread with the popularity of celebrities and world leaders who practice yoga.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who suggested the date June 21 to celebrate International Yoga Day, practices yoga. Mark the day this year, Modi will lead a massive yoga event in Dehradun. On Monday, he had said that yoga makes people better individuals in thought, action, knowledge and devotion.

The prime minister also posted a video message on Twitter in which he said, "Yoga is a precious gift given by ancient Indian sages to mankind."

"Yoga is not only what you practise in the morning. Doing your day-to-day activities with diligence and complete awareness is a form of yoga as well. Free from illness, a path to wellness -- that is the path of yoga," he said.

The belief that yoga and meditation make people selfless is being questioned.
The thing about meditation is you become more and more about you.Flickr

"Because it teaches us to see others the same as ourselves, yoga makes us better individuals in thought, action, knowledge and devotion," Modi added.

Meanwhile, here a few inspirational quotes and messages to share and inspire people around to start practicing yoga.

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." – The Bhagavad Gita

Through the practices of yoga, we discover that concern for the happiness and well being of others, including animals, must be an essential part of our own quest for happiness and well being. The fork can be a powerful weapon of mass destruction or a tool to create peace on Earth." - Sharon Gannon

A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves." - T. Guillemets

When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath."- Hatha Yoga Pradipika

2017 in photos
Schoolchildren attend a yoga session at a camp in Ahmedabad, India January 5, 2017.Reuters

Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts, which otherwise impartially prevent all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of Spirit. Yoga cannot know a barrier of East and West any more than does the healing and equitable light of the sun." – Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian yogi

Yoga guarantees wellness as well as fitness. Yoga is not merely an exercise but a way to attain peace through physical, mental and spiritual well being." – Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister

Yoga is a way to freedom. By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and loneliness." – Indra Devi, Russian yoga teacher

When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world." — B.K.S. Iyengar, Indian yoga teacher

International Yoga Day, Yoga Day, Yoga Day 2017, Yoga quotes
A man performs yoga on a beach on the Mediterranean coast in Tel Aviv, Israel.Reuters

You can enter yoga, or the path of yoga, only when you are totally frustrated with your own mind as it is. If you are still hoping that you can gain something through your mind, yoga is not for you."- Osho

Ashtanga yoga has completely changed me. I try to do it every day, and the effect is amazing. It's not just during the hours that I'm practising. It's about how it filters through into the rest of my life. It makes all the other bullshit dissipate. Who I am has emerged, and everything else has gone by the wayside." — Actress Gwyneth Paltrow