International Yoga Day is today – Tuesday 21st June. This event was initiated and formalised in 2015, so whilst it is a new idea it is now set to be an annual celebration. The idea of this celebration is to promote the practice of yoga and meditation, spreading awareness about the many benefits of adopting yoga into your everyday life.

Where it began

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, proposed the idea of International Yoga Day during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. Neighbouring country, Nepal, had been celebrating World Yoga Day for 36 years, although it had failed to gain official approval.

In the speech by Narendra Modi, he stated this:

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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

The first event for this took place across the world on 21 June 2015.

In India, almost 36,000 people practised 21 yoga asanas for 35 minutes in New Delhi. This became a World Record for the largest ever yoga class. 84 nations took part at this event alone, also earning a World Record.

International Yoga Day 2016 – how to celebrate?

Continuing the momentum on the success from the earlier year, the Indian government are organising a series of similar events, with presentations to promote yoga.

In London, many studios are offering discounted classes, or options to bring a friend for free, so that’s one way to celebrate. Else, just perhaps set aside some time tonight to do a few stretches, or an extended meditation.