This year has given us a lot more anxiety and fear than we bargained for. We've all been stuck indoors, with gyms shut and everything on standby, we've been left with limited options. Therefore, Yoga enters the picture as a saviour. 

An age-old practice with numerous benefits, Yoga has proven effective for a number of reasons. Therefore since 2015 International Yoga Day has been enthusiastically celebrated around the country. The day has obtained much significance for promoting and encouraging a healthy lifestyle with a practice that has regardless of your body type and age.

International Yoga Day 2020
Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

International Yoga Day: The significance

Yoga has grown in popularity the world over. The ancient practice originated in India in the 5th century. It has been particularly geared toward mental and physical wellbeing. The physical activity has found many schools in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism who've developed their own styles and practices over centuries.

This posture-based physical routine has now turned into a modern form of exercise, which is known as Hatha Yoga. Yoga has popularly practiced around the world, known to help in relieving many physical ailments and stress. We all can benefit from it if there was ever a need for Yoga it's now. Yoga can help in exercising mindfulness and has been proven to improve focus and concentration. Moreover, it helps blood circulation and breathing, naturally making you calmer. 

The best part is there are no restrictions on who can practice Yoga, anybody of any age, body type, their physical condition can benefit from Yoga. More than complex poses and asanas, the appeal of Yoga is its numerous health benefits which is what International Yoga Day celebrates every year since 2015.

 At the UN General Assembly, Modi had talked about the value of Yoga:

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 well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day." - Narendra Modi, General Assembly, 27 September, 2014

International Yoga Day 2020: Theme

Over the years, International Yoga Day has seen many themes. Every year the UN assigns a new theme for the year. This year, the theme is 'Yoga for Health- Yoga at Home'. With the pandemic, all our lifestyles have been restricted to the home. The new normal has also demanded a shift in the way we stay fit. So this year, the UN's them is one that's all about social distancing.

Yoga has appeared as one of the most effective tools to stay fit while indoors and relieve stress during these trying times. In the past we've had some very interesting themes as well.

In 2019, Internationa Yoga Day celebrated Yoga for the Heart, the main event was conducted in Ranchi last year. More than 3000 Yoga enthusiasts were part of the celebrations. However, this time there will be no gatherings.

In 2018, the theme UN set was Yoga for Peace, and India set a new world record of the largest Yoga session in Rajasthan with over a lakh people at the event. The theme celebrated, diversity and inclusion something India has always prided itself in.

international yoga day
international yoga

In 2017, the theme Yoga for Health was celebrated with gusto all around the world. With India organizing conferences in Delhi and events on Yoga, many other places celebrated Yoga Day as well. In Times Square, New York, then in Japan, China, and Dublin Yoga day saw many enthusiasts joining the celebrations.

In 2016, for the theme Connecting the Youth, the Ministry of AYUSH organized an event in Lucknow, with over 50,000 people participating. Over 150 differently-abled also participated in the session. 

The first Internationa Yoga Day celebrated Harmony and Peace. On June 21st, nearly 35,985 people had participated in the celebrations. To show support to the first International Yoga Day, PM Modi also performed 21 asanas and more than 190 countries had celebrated the day. 

This year it'll be interesting to see what the Government has in store of International Yoga Day, with everything drastically changed in 2020, perhaps we're one the cusp of a new turning point in Yoga practice.