Thousands of years after it began, Yoga has become popular with people around the world, who are drawn to the practice for its health benefits and stress reductions. Now, it even has its own International Day of Yoga (IDY) every June 21. Here, we celebrate with these interesting trivia about this ancient Indian practice.
On IDY, it's a tradition for people from all over the world to begin with a salute the sun or suryanamaskar. According to Guinness World Records, the world's largest Yoga lesson took place two years ago, with more than 100,000 people travelling to the northern Indian city of Kota. But breaking the world record will be more difficult this year, given the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in several virtual sessions instead.
WHY IS THERE A WORLD YOGA DAY? The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, proposed the day at the United Nations in 2014. A passionate yogi, he even has his own yoga channel on YouTube. He presents yoga as a way to improved health and more peace.
But for Modi, yoga is also a form of soft power and national pride. The Indian government is holding a blogger competition this year, with participants asked to explain how Yoga affects their lives.
ORIGINS: Invented at least 5,000 years ago in India, Yoga is more than just stretching or acrobatics. It's a philosophy that also includes meditation and breathing exercises. The exercises are designed to promote inner harmony and being at one with nature.