By Britta Schmitz
UNITED NATIONS, June 22 2016 – The International Day of Yoga is a new event in
the UN calendar. On June 21 it was celebrated at UN Headquarters for the second
Yoga, an ancient Indian practice for both mind and body, has gained new popularity
over the past few years and is practiced all around the world.
“Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being. It promotes
harmony among people and between ourselves and the natural world,“ Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon said on the occasion of the 2nd International Day of Yoga.
This year’s theme is “Yoga for SDGs“. The spiritual practice of Yoga can contribute to
a healthy lifestyle. Healthy living is important for the realization of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs), as good health and well-being for all is one of the
seventeen Global Goals.
non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,
which are among the leading causes of illness and death worldwide. By improving
fitness, teaching us how to breathe correctly and working to diminish stress, yoga
can help to cultivate healthier lifestyles,“ the Secretary General explained.
The UN celebrated this special occasion with two events at the UN Headquarters, a
Panel Discussion and Q&A Session with Yoga masters Jaggi Vasudev and 97-year-
old Tao Porchon-Lynch, as well as the Official Commemoration of the International
Day of Yoga. An outdoor yoga session led by Vasudev marked the highlight of Yoga
Day. Mogens Lykketoft participated in the yoga session which was accompanied by a
an exercise to bring unity between mind and body, to achieve oneness with yourself.
Given its appeal to diverse groups of people, people of all backgrounds, strengths,
age and capability, yoga can also serve to strengthen our sense of oneness and unity
with each other and with nature today,“ said Lykketoft.
The term Yoga originates from the Sanskrit language and can be translated with
unity, referring to the union of mind and body.
“Practicing yoga can also help raise awareness of our role as consumers of the
planet’s resources and as individuals with a duty to respect and live in peace with our
neighbours. All these elements are essential to building a sustainable future of dignity
and opportunity for all. On this International Day of Yoga, I urge everyone to embrace
healthier choices and lifestyles and to commit to unity with our fellow human beings,
regardless of ethnicity, faith, age, gender identity or sexual orientation,“ the Secretary
Yoga can not only contribute to the achievement of goal number 3 of the SDGs, but
also promote a sustainable lifestyle and thus lead to a better harmony between
people and planet, as pointed out by Indian Prime Minister Modi.