Celebrated on June 21, International Yoga Day celebrates the physical and spiritual prowess that yoga has brought to the world stage. While it is an important source of exercise and healthy activity millions join in and practice on a daily basis. For many, these routines are a way to connect the body, mind and soul in a way that has existed for centuries.
When is International Yoga Day 2024?
Stretch your body and relax your mind like never before on International Yoga Day on June 21.
History of International Yoga Day
For International Yoga Day, people around the world are all set to take out their yoga mats and start exercising, but they might not be aware that yoga goes back centuries.
Yoga is considered to be an ancient practice that originated 5,000 years ago in India. Yoga was developed as a way to interconnect the mind, body and soul to step closer into enlightenment. As the practice became popular in the west, it became popularized as an exercise and relaxation method, with claims to help the body’s general well-being, alleviate physical injuries and chronic pain.
The idea of International Yoga Day was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 27, 2014, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, where a resolution to establish June 21 as International Yoga Day was introduced by India’s Ambassador, Asoke Kumar Mukerji.
The date of June 21 was chosen as it is the Summer Solstice, the day where there is the most sun out of every other day of the year. Overall, it received support from 177 nations, the highest number of co-sponsors for any UN resolution, proclaiming June 21 as the International Yoga Day.
On June 21, 2015, nearly 36,000 people, including Prime Minister Modi, and many other high-profile political figures from all around the world, performed 21 asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes in New Delhi in what was the first International Yoga Day, and the day has been celebrated around the globe ever since.
International Yoga Day timeline
The earliest reports for the existence of Yoga are determined to be around this era.
Narendra Modi and the Indian delegation propose to create International Yoga Day
Over 36,000 celebrate the first ever Yoga Day in India.
The largest yoga lesson takes place in India, with over 100,000 participants
Traditions of the Day
International Yoga Day is a relatively new holiday, so there aren’t any time-honored traditions. But yoga itself is an ancient art that refreshes the mind and soothes the soul. The day aims to encourage new people to adopt the yogi lifestyle and align with their inner chakra.
Newbies sign up for yoga and create their own flow of movements to their favorite relaxing music. Before starting yoga, new mats and yoga pants are bought. Those who are already skilled at yoga try out new combinations and introduce their friends to it. Special group yoga retreats are also offered by instructors.
By The Numbers
$2.5 billion – the amount Americans spend on yoga instruction annually.
5% – the percentage of people who have given either children or their pets Sanskrit names.
300 – the circulation of the first edition of “Yoga Journal.”
10 – the number of pages in the first edition of “Yoga Journal.”
#1 – reason for yoga is wellness.
#1 – reason for quitting yoga is the teacher.
1.7 million – the number of American children under 17 who practice yoga.
1975 – the year when the first issue of “Yoga Journal” launched.
15% – the percentage of people who go to an annual yoga retreat.
200,000 – the number of yoga instructors in India.
International Yoga Day FAQs
How can I begin to practice yoga?
There is no wrong way to begin. You can search up for yoga studios or local gyms who offer yoga lessons, or you can practice at home with video tutorials and some relaxing music.
What does Om mean?
Om is said to be an interpretation of the sound of the universe. It is a way to seal in the lessons of the yoga class, but it’s not mandatory.
What kind of equipment do I need to practice yoga?
The most important equipment are flexible athletic clothing and a yoga mat. The latter is not necessary and you can borrow the ones from your fitness center if you’re taking it slow; it also helps to find out which kind of mat — thick or thin — you enjoy more.
International Yoga Day Activities
Bring Your Tree Pose to Nature
Practicing outside can breathe some fresh air into your yoga poses. Practice on the beach, at your local park, or even in your backyard. Surrounding yourself in a new environment can be much more engaging by having new things to focus on.
Do your "om" thing
Create your own flow of movements and discover new combinations to your favorite music. Sometimes a change in movement or music can help you focus your energy and sync your breathing perfectly to musical transitions.
Introduce a friend to the yogi lifestyle
Bringing a friend can be just the right motivation you need to revamp your practice. Not only will their presence inspire you to strengthen your poses, but also they can score big on free yoga deals for new students. Win win.
5 Yoga Facts
Lots of Americans practice yoga
About 36 million Americans claim to do yoga regularly, around 10% of the population
One for everyone
There are more than a hundred styles of yoga.
A social media hit
At any given time, 60 million posts are trending on Instagram.
The Yoga mat was invented in 1982
Angela Farmer used carpet underlay to create a comfortable, slip-free surface.
It is inspirational
Stemming from her experiences with yoga, Elizabeth Gilbert was inspired to write the best-seller “Eat Pray Love”
Why We Love International Yoga Day
People of all age groups, religions, nationalities and social backgrounds can celebrate, because yoga is accessible to all! There are so many different kinds of yoga practices, so it's possible for anyone to start. Size and fitness levels don't matter — there are modifications for every yoga pose and beginner classes in every style.
Yoga helps you manage stress
Life can be stressful sometimes, and it can take its toll on our physical bodies. Have back or neck pain, sleeping problems and headaches? Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity, calmness, and relieves chronic stress — which means it'll help you with all of the above.
Practicing yoga is healthy
This is no surprise, but it bears repeating. Yoga strengthens and stabilizes the spine, relieving back pain, stress, anxiety and tension. It helps with weight reduction, maintaining a balanced metabolism and increases flexibility. And these are only some of its host of benefits.
International Yoga Day dates