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UN Officially Declares June 21 International Yoga Day

in Featured, World News, YD News

Image via twitter.com/MEAIndia. We’re not sure why she’s white either.

It’s official, June 21st is now the International Day of Yoga. Says Indian Prime Minister Modi, “Namaste, motherf@*kers!” Kidding, of course. But he is quite elated. On Thursday, with 177 nations backing the initiative, the UN declared that the world will be observing a global day of yoga on the 21st of June, around the time of the summer solstice, when a lot of us are already celebrating by saluting the sun at least 108 times. The day received support from 177 countries, which is pretty impressive. Not surprising are the countries who did not back the idea, Pakistan and Malaysia, where fatwas (which, on the very basic level, are cease and desists) have been issued against yoga since 2008. (We should note there are 193 United Nations member states.)

This was a big win for Indian Prime Minister Modi who had pushed for the day in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in September when he said, “Yoga should not be just an exercise for us, but it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature,” declaring yoga “India’s gift.”

In an effort to reclaim India’s yoga history and lineage, the government recently created a department of Ayurveda and Yoga and has plans to dive into the estimated $100 billion global market for alternative medicine.

Modi took to twitter to administer his response and share his joy about the decision.





He also shared a link to this speech he gave in 2013 at the opening of the Lakulish Yoga University on the power of yoga.

This all sounds like good news, but Modi still draws some side eyes from his critics over his past (and present) politics. Hopefully, the International Day of Yoga will be something we can all celebrate free from political motives.

Again, we have no idea yet how the International Day of Yoga will be (or should be?) celebrated. We’d love to hear your ideas, though!



8 comments… add one
  • Sir Sasana

    Celebrate International Day of Yoga by:

    • Standing on your head for 3 hours

    • Practicing kumbhaka until Ida and Pingala merge in Sushumna

    • Smearing ashes all over your body and meditating in a cemetary

    • Drinking the middle stream of your morning urine

    • Gazing at the empty center of a candle flame for 3 hours

    • Gazing at the sunrise and sunset

    • Asana on a cow dung floor


    • Buying Lululemon Yoga pants

    Will it be a day of practice or a day of consumerism?

  • A Karastathi

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party and formerly chief minister of the state of Gujurat, bears responsibility for the massacre in 2002 of more than a thousand Muslim people by Hindu mobs, for which he has refused all accountability. How might we read his reflections about the “integrative” power of yoga if we contextualise them in his political legacy of inciting communal violence?

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