International Yoga Day 2021
Yoga is the dance of every cell with the music of every breath that creates inner serenity and harmony. International Yoga Day 2021 will be observed on June 21 this year to highlight the importance of Yoga and the pivotal role it plays in rejuvenating our mind and the body, leading to a healthier lifestyle.
Yoga not only provides physical and mental relaxation but also develops strength and resilience. The numerous benefits of Yoga make it a popular practice for people across the globe, especially in times of a pandemic when mental and physical health is under stress.
Yoga is believed to have originated in India thousands of years ago and also finds mention in ancient mythological books like the Rig Veda.
On 27 September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his speech at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, proposed the idea of practicing ‘Yoga Day’. In his speech, Modi termed Yoga as an ‘invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition’ and highlighted the importance of yoga for maintaining ‘harmony between man and nature’.
The draft resolution passed by India was backed by 177 nations and the first International Yoga Day was celebrated on June 21, 2015.
International Yoga Day is on June 21. Yoga has become a part of daily life for millions of people worldwide. It has emerged as the most friendly and trusted way to keep fit. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted schedules and people who are recovering or have recovered from the infection are still battling weakness and other health issues.
Meditation and yoga under supervision help such people to get back to normal lives faster, according to experts. Online yoga classes have become very popular during the pandemic and it is easy to access expert advice on yoga.
The Permanent Mission of India in New York will be commemorating the 7th International Yoga Day on June 21, 2021. The celebrations will be marked at a time when COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend lives and livelihoods of people globally.
Beyond its immediate impact on the physical health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated psychological suffering and mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, as pandemic-related restrictions continue in various forms in many countries. This has highlighted the urgent need to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic, in addition to the physical health aspects.
The message of Yoga in promoting – both physical and mental well-being of humanity – has never been more relevant. A growing trend of people around the world embracing Yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression has been witnessed during the pandemic.
Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. They are particularly useful in allaying their fears and anxiety.
Recognizing this important role of Yoga, this year’s commemoration of the International Yoga Day will be focused on “Yoga for well-being”, i.e. how practice of Yoga can promote holistic health of every individual.
The celebrations will commence with messages from the President of the United Nations General Assembly and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, which will be followed by demonstrations of Yoga exercises (asanas) to improve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and an Interactive panel discussion on “Yoga for well-being”.
Theme for Yoga Day 2021
According to the UN website, the theme for International Yoga Day 2021 is ‘Yoga for well-being’, i.e. how the practice of Yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual.
With the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating psychological suffering and mental health problems, many people have been embracing Yoga to stay healthy and to fight isolation and depression.
Yoga plays an important role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. As per the website, the message of Yoga in promoting both the physical and mental well-being of humanity has never been more relevant.
International Yoga Day celebration during Pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also asked its member states to practice Yoga and has included it in its Global Action Plan for physical activity 2018-2030.
The Day will be marked at a time when COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend lives and livelihoods of people globally.
Beyond its immediate impact on physical health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated psychological suffering and mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, as pandemic-related restrictions continue in various forms in many countries.
This has highlighted the urgent need to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic, in addition to the physical health aspects. The message of Yoga in promoting both the physical and mental well-being of humanity has never been more relevant.
A growing trend of people around the world embracing International Yoga day to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression has been witnessed during the pandemic.
Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. It is particularly helpful in allaying their fears and anxiety.
Recognizing this important role of Yoga, this year’s commemoration of the International Day of Yoga focuses on “Yoga for well-being” – how the practice of Yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual.
The United Nations offers yoga resources to its personnel and others on the COVID-19 portal’s section on Wellness.
The World Health Organization mentions yoga as a means to improve health in its Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: more active people for a healthier world.
UNICEF says kids can practice many yoga poses without any risk and get the same benefits that adults do. These benefits include increased flexibility, fitness, mindfulness and relaxation.
What is yoga and why do we celebrate-
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.
The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states.
The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition.
Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
The resolution notes “the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health.”
In this regard, the World Health Organization has also urged its member states to help their citizens reduce physical inactivity, which is among the top ten leading causes of death worldwide, and a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
But yoga is more than a physical activity. In the words of one of its most famous practitioners, the late B. K. S. Iyengar, “Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”
Yoga poses for Kids-
Here we list yoga poses that are safe and easy to get your children and young ones started. Practice regularly and keep fit always.
- Mountain Pose
A great pose to begin with, this is the foundation of most standing stretches. Begin with feet planted firmly on the ground, big toes touching but heels slightly apart. Arms should be by your side with hands facing forwards. The back of your head, neck and back should be straight and aligned. Hold this pose for at least one minute. It will set you up for the rest of your practice.
- Upward Salute
In Mountain Pose, take a deep breath in. Upon exhaling, raise the arms up, bringing the palms together overhead. Your shoulders should be in line with your arms. So keep your arms parallel above your head if your shoulders and arms can’t line up when your palms are touching. This is a straightforward pose for children to try and it’s grounding.
- Cat Pose
It’s always good to get kids’ imagination going and poses named after animals do just that! For Cat Pose, get down on hands and knees, then curl the spine upwards. This should involve drawing the head and shoulders in towards the stomach. Bonus points for the best meow!
- Cow Pose
Cow Pose goes hand in hand with Cat Pose; they’re most beneficial when done together in sequence. From Cat Pose, round the spine in the other direction, with shoulders open and head facing upwards. To get the benefit of this stretch, alternate with Cat Pose, so you would hold each pose for a few seconds before moving into the other. Watch out for this one, once you tell your little ones to get into ‘Cow Pose’ you may hear some mooing!
- Child’s Pose
Kids will love this one because it’s named after them! Plus, it helps that it’s a relaxing recovery stretch. Get down onto your knees and rest your bottom on your heels. Separate the knees outwards while bending forward so that the chest can either rest on top of or between the knees.
Arms are either stretched out in front or back towards the feet. You may have to remind your little ones that they can’t stay in this pose for the whole session!
- Happy Baby
For even younger children, or those that sometimes act like it, get them into the Happy Baby Pose! Lying on the back, bring the knees into the chest. Hold the outsides of the feet, or shins – wherever is comfortable. Open the legs a little wider than the torso, bringing the knees towards the armpits. In this position, rock side to side (like a baby.) This will massage the lower back and is sure to get a few gurgles, even from parents!
- Tree Pose
Rather than emphasizing flexibility, this pose works on balance. Start off in Mountain Pose and put your weight onto either left or right foot. Bend the opposite knee, lifting that foot. Grab your lifted foot and bring it closer to your groin.
Plant the sole of the lifted foot against the opposite leg at the ankle, shin or thigh – whichever is most comfortable. At the same time, twist the knee outwards. Toes should be pointing down to the floor.
Get kids to concentrate on a fixed point to keep their balance. After holding for a few seconds, release the foot and lower to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.
Your little one will enjoy seeing how long they can balance without having to put their foot down. There will be some inevitable giggles as they have to drop their foot a few times at the start.
- Cobra Pose
Lying on the floor on your belly, stretch your legs out behind you with the tops of your feet touching the floor. Place the palms of your hands on the floor, under your shoulders.
Your elbows should be pointing to the sky. Squeeze them towards one another and use this momentum to lift your chest off the ground. As you lower yourself out of this pose, exhale. Hissing optional!
- Eagle Pose
This one will have your little one all tied in knots! They’ll love the challenge of perfecting this pose and will be sure to have a few giggles. Inn Mountain pose, slightly bend both knees and lift one foot.
Try to stay balanced as you cross the lifted thigh over the other. With the toes pointing to the floor, hook the lifted foot around the opposite calf. See if you can get your toes peeking out at the side of the calf.
While still balancing on one foot, stretch your arms straight out in front of you. Cross the opposite arm to the bended leg over the other arm. Bend the elbows so that the forearms lift up.
Your palms should be facing away from one another. Now try crossing the forearms and pressing the palms together. Lift the arms towards the sky and hold for 30 seconds. Now try to untangle yourself!
- Corpse Pose
Creep out your kids when you tell them to get into this pose! It may seem like an easy pose, after all, how hard can lying on your back be? Yet, to make this pose effective, you want to achieve total relaxation.
This is often difficult enough in itself. Corpse Pose should always be the last position in a yoga sequence as you wind down. You may need some blankets for this, to prop up your head or drape over yourself. Or, pop a sweater on because relaxing lowers the body’s temperature.
This is the only pose on the list which requires you not to move for the most part, because we know that kids can’t always stay still! But, once they’ve gone through all these poses, they will be glad to rest for a while.
To get into the position, sit on your bottom with feet planted on the ground (with knees bent). With a straight back, lean back onto the elbows and then slowly onto the ground. From there, stretch one leg out after the other.
Make sure feet are facing away from one another, without forcing them. You should feel relaxed and loose. Arms should be stretched away from your body with the palms of the hands facing upwards.
Your head should be resting on the floor and tucked into the back of the neck. Close your eyes, relax the face and let the tongue feel heavy. Concentrate on your breathing, inhaling through the nose and exhaling from the mouth. Stay in this pose for about 5 minutes and try to empty your mind.
To get up, roll onto one side and using the opposite hand, push yourself off the ground into a seated position.
Basic rules for Yoga
- Yoga should be done on empty stomach. One needs to wait for at least three hours before practicing yoga, say experts. Avoid sipping tea or coffee while practicing yoga
- One should begin with easy yoga poses and then move on to the tough ones.
- Relax for 10 seconds at least after each yoga exercise.
- Comfortable clothes are essential for practicing yoga.
- Yoga must not be practiced on hard ground. Experts advise using yoga mats or a thick bed sheet for yoga.
- Morning is said to be the best time for practicing yoga
- Food can be taken after an hour of practicing yoga.
- It is always better to practice yoga where there is abundant clean air.
- It is better to take shower after practicing yoga.
- The benefits of yoga can be enjoyed only when one is discipline and regular in practicing yoga.