From the stately chambers of Capitol Hill to the roaring coast of the Pacific Ocean, a sea of humanity convened, spreading waves of peace and joy. .June 21st, the longest day of the year, was also the Third International Day of Yoga celebration in the United States and across the world. Millions of people around the globe came together on this occasion to experience peace and harmony through the practice of Yoga.
UN Declaration of International Day of Yoga
The United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga to raise awareness of the many benefits of practicing Yoga.
In essence, the U.N recognized the intrinsic power of Yoga to unite people from all walks of life, irrespective of religion, borders, and culture, to experience wellness and harmony within and in our environment.
Back to the roots
One might wonder how a simple practice of Yoga can bring such a transformation in oneself and in our surroundings. To answer that question, one must go back to the very origin of Yoga.
The word Yoga is derived from the root, ‘Yuj’ which means union. When sustained as a holistic practice, Yoga unites the body, mind, and spirit and helps each individual experience much-needed peace and harmony within and without! “…Yoga is acknowledging the unity of the individual self with the universal self,” stated Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, renowned Peace Ambassador and Founder of the Art of Living Foundation, in his address to the European Parliament on the Second International Day of Yoga in 2016.
This 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge of personal transformation has found new recognition in the modern era for its health and therapeutic benefits, as documented by various scientific studies.
Yoga - A force of Peace and Harmony
“Yoga is feeling the connection with oneself and everyone around. Yoga is aspiring for the highest goal in the world - to feel one with everyone and with the divine”, further states Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in his address to the Parliament.
Yoga helps us get in touch with our source, the very essence of our being. When we are established with that source, we experience bliss, peace, love for all, compassion, and a smile that does not fade, come what may!
At a time in our world when there is so much attention on division and conflicts, Yoga comes as a powerful force to heal our differences and bring harmony. At a time in our society when much of the focus is on how different we are in race, color and creed, Yoga offer an opportunity to experience and celebrate the fact that we all belong to one race, the race of humanity. As the saying in Sanskrit goes, “Vasudeva Kutumbakam”, One-world Family!
The Art of Living Foundation is an educational, global non-profit organization that has played a key role in bringing the ancient knowledge of yoga to people from all walks of life for more than 35 years. The Foundation launched a series of campaigns across the United States to create more awareness about and to help people experience and incorporate the many benefits of yoga in their day to day life. Through this unique campaign, multiple free events such as Gift of Yoga for Health and Happiness, Sun Never Sets on Yoga and Yoga Festival were offered in more than 26 states across the USA.
Here are some of the photo-glimpses from the Art of Living Foundation’s celebrations of the Third International Day of Yoga in the U.S -
Thousands joined the International Day of Yoga celebrations through the Gift of Yoga for Health and Happiness; Sun Never sets on Yoga workshops and Yoga festivals
Desk Yoga to the rescue at Capitol Hill, Washington D.C
Catch ‘em young! Kids in school celebrating International Yoga Day
The California State Assembly recognized 21st June as the International Day of Yoga. Honorable Mayors of more than 20 cities across the USA presented proclamations to the Art of Living Foundation.
Yoga Events were organized in partnership with the Indian Embassy in Austin, New York, Washington D.C, Atlanta, and California