Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

People all over the world take part in International Yoga Day – in pictures

The celebration takes place every June 21

Did you know that Sunday is World Humanist Day? It’s also World Music Day, Go Skateboarding Day and the International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice.

If that’s not enough, June 21 also marks International Yoga Day, and has done so for the past five years.

Take a look through the photo gallery above to see people across the world marking the day by practising yoga.

What is International Yoga Day?

The idea to have a day dedicated to the physical, mental and spiritual practice of yoga was introduced by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was during the opening of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in 2014.

He said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being.

“Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

And it is with that spirit that people all over the world now celebrate yoga every June 21, as the day aims to raise awareness of the many benefits of practising.

A brief history of yoga

The practice originated in India and the word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit for “join” or “to unite”. It symbolises the union of body and consciousness.

Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

It is thought to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, possibly as long ago as 3,000 BC, though the study of yoga could be traced back to the 5th and 6th centuries BC.

There is a wide range of yoga schools, practices, goals, thoughts and beliefs in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Although the practice stems from eastern religions and philosophies, today there are also plenty of modern forms of yoga practised across the world, particularly in the West and right here in the UAE.

This includes hatha, for example, or yoga as exercise, which consists of a series of postures, or asanas.

Updated: June 21, 2020 10:49 PM

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