International Day of Yoga (IDY) is on 21 June 2016, the second time the world has celebrated this UN day. And having such a day is a good opportunity to either practise yoga on Tuesday 21st, or maybe reflect on what yoga means to you.
If you can’t get to a yoga class on Tuesday, you could do your own thing at home. Yoga includes the physical postures (asana), breath control practices (pranayama), and meditation, so even if you have a physical injury or condition which means you currently can’t do physical postures, a meditation session can bring its own benefits.
In fact, the focus of the UN for the International Day of Yoga in 2016 is on the area of health and well-being, and how yoga can help contribute towards the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, which were launched in January 2016. Yoga improves physical health and general well-being, and relates to Goal 3 (“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”). As the famous saying (almost) says: ‘Yoga every day keeps the doctor away.’
But for me, the benefits of yoga go behind physical and mental health and well-being, as I believe, yoga, and the subtle changes it can have on your life, can lead to peace, harmony and greater compassion for living beings. Through yoga and meditation it’s possible to feel a greater connection with others, and to understand that despite hatred, distrust and division across the globe, we can be united through love and understanding of one another. (And, as I write this on 20th June, it is UN World Refugee Day. According to the UN, every minute, eight people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. More shocking statistics are on the UNHCR page, where displaced people numbers are estimated at 65.3 million.)
Further reading: The UN Secretary General’s message on International Day of Yoga 2016