International Yoga Day is celebrated annually on June 21 and was declared to be internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 11, 2014. Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline that originated in India. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN Address suggested the date of June 21, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares special significance in many parts of the world.
The idea of an International Yoga Day was first proposed by Narendra Modi during his speech at the UNGA, on September 27, 2014. He stated:
“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 us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.” — Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly
Following this initial proposal, the UNGA held informal consultations on the draft resolution entitled “International Day of Yoga”, on October 14, 2014. The consultations were convened by the delegation of India.
On December 11, 2014, India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Mukherji introduced the draft resolution in UNGA. The draft text received broad support from 177 Member States who adopted the text without a vote. This initiative found support from many global leaders. A total of 175 nations co-sponsored the resolution and had the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA Resolution of such nature.