United Nations, 12 December 2014
Less than three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea, the UN general assembly on Thursday adopted an India-led resolution declaring 21 June as ‘International Day of Yoga’, recognizing that “Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being.”
The resolution on ‘International Day of Yoga’ was introduced by India’s ambassador to UN Asoke Mukerji and had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any general assembly resolution.
It is also for the first time that such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in the UN body in less than 90 days.
Through the resolution, adopted under the agenda of ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy,’ the 193-member general assembly decided to proclaim June 21 every year as the ‘International Day of Yoga’.
It recognised that Yoga “provides a holistic approach to health and well-being” and that wider the dissemination of information about benefits of practising Yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population.
In introducing the resolution, Mukerji quoted Modi’s UNGA address in which he had asked world leaders to adopt an international Yoga day, saying that by changing lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change.
“Yoga 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,” Modi had said.
In suggesting 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, Modi had said that the date, one of the two solstices, is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world.
Mukerji said the vision articulated by the Prime Minister was warmly welcomed initially by a small yet committed corpus of nations.
“The very fact that today in the UN general assembly, this draft resolution has garnered a record number of 175 co-sponsors, including the vast majority of member states of all the regional and sub-regional groups of the general assembly, as well as all the five permanent members of the UN security council, is a testimony to the enthusiastic cross cultural and universal appeal that Yoga enjoys amongst members of the United Nations,” Mukerji said.