International Yoga Day 2024

International Yoga Day 2024

(This article is related to the section ‘ History of Art and Culture, Indian Architecture and Indian Society, Issues related to Indian Society ’ of General Studies Paper-1 of UPSC Civil Services Exam Mains and Yoga Day, International Yoga Day, Vocational Education Courses in Yoga, Fit India Movement, Skill Development Initiatives through Yoga ’ of Preliminary Exam. It also includes suggestions from the PLUTUS IAS Team. This article is related to ‘ International Yoga Day 2024 ’ under ‘ Daily Current Affairs ’.)


Why in the News ? 



  • Recently the 10th International Yoga Day was organized on 21 June 2024.
  • This year, the theme of International Yoga Day on 21 June 2024 will be is  “Yoga for Self and Society” .
  • International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on 21 June all over the world. This day is dedicated to promoting the importance of yoga and its health benefits. Yoga has been shown to promote physical fitness, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve the quality of general health. 


Historical background and importance of Yoga Day :  


  • The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, which means “to join” or “to unite”. Yoga is a holistic approach to mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
  • Yoga’s connection with India is centuries old. It is an important part of Indian culture and Vedas. Today, when the whole world is understanding the importance of Yoga, the credit for this goes to the Indian Yoga Gurus, due to whose efforts Yoga has reached the global level.
  • The proposal to celebrate International Yoga Day was first put forward by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September 2014. 
  • On 11 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly approved this proposal and declared 21 June as International Yoga Day. 
  • This proposal got the support of many countries of the world and for the first time Yoga Day was celebrated worldwide on 21 June 2015. On this day lakhs of people did yoga collectively.
  • The first Yoga Day celebration held at Rajpath, New Delhi in 2015 created two Guinness World Records. 
  • The first record was the world’s largest yoga session with 35,985 people and the second record was the participation of people from 84 countries in a single session. 
  • The theme of the first International Yoga Day was “Yoga for Harmony and Peace”.


Why is Yoga Day celebrated only on 21st June? 


  • An important reason behind celebrating Yoga Day on June 21 is because June 21 is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, which is also known as the summer solstice. 
  • June 21st is the longest day of the year. 
  • After the summer solstice the Sun moves towards Dakshinayana, which is considered especially important for yoga and spirituality. 
  • For this reason, it was decided to celebrate June 21 as International Yoga Day. 


Yoga and its importance :  


  • Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. 
  • The word “yoga” is derived from Sanskrit and means “to join”, i.e. union of body and consciousness. 
  • Practicing yoga helps in improving physical health, mental state and development of the soul. 
  • Through yoga we can reduce our physical and mental stress, recognize our soul through meditation, and experience unity with the soul.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has also asked its member countries to practice yoga and has included it in its Global Action Plan for Physical Activity 2018-30.
  • By adopting yoga in our life, we not only stay away from many physical and mental diseases, but at the same time, our health and body also remain good with regular yoga practice.
  • Yoga provides relief from respiratory diseases, obesity, kidney, liver, muscle pain, diabetes and high blood pressure etc. and improves the skin.


Why is International Yoga Day Celebrated ?



  • The main objective of celebrating International Yoga Day is to promote the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of practicing yoga. 
  • Yoga is an ancient Indian practice, which originated thousands of years ago. Yoga goes beyond physical exercise, incorporating mental and spiritual aspects and promoting a sense of overall well-being. 
  • Yoga is an ancient Indian science practiced to improve physical, mental and spiritual health. The practice of yoga leads to peace, health, and happiness.
  • The practice of yoga integrates breathing exercises, meditation, and ethical principles.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes yoga as a powerful tool to promote a healthy lifestyle, improve physical and mental health, and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs). 
  • Yoga can play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include reducing physical inactivity by 15% by 2030।
  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has recognized Yoga as a sports discipline and placed it in the ‘Priority’ category in the year 2015.
  • The yoga day is chosen to be June 21, which coincides with the summer solstice.
  • At the time of summer solstice the length of the day is greatest and the length of night is shortest. The purpose of choosing this special day of Yoga is to utilize the Earth’s energy to the maximum at this time. 


Many initiatives related to Yoga have been started by the Government of India : 


M-Yoga App :


  • India’s Prime Minister has announced an M-Yoga app to achieve the goal of ‘One World, One Health’. The app is the result of a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, which includes Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy.


New website for International Yoga Day (IDY) :


  • A new web portal has been launched to provide updates and relevant information related to International Yoga Day. The website also provides all social media interactive platforms for visitors to monitor and participate in discussions. This portal is also linked to important web pages like Swachh Bharat, Make in India etc.


Yoga recognized as a sports discipline :


  • The Ministry of Sports in India has recognized Yoga as a sports discipline after reviewing various sports disciplines and placed it in the ‘Priority’ category in September 2015.


General Rules of Yoga :


  • The Ministry of AYUSH has listed major yoga ‘sadhanas’ such as yamas, niyamas, asanas etc. in its ‘General Yoga Rules’.


Vocational Education Courses in Yoga :


  • Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&WSSC) conducts vocational education courses in Yoga for CBSE schools. B&WSSC has been set up as a non-profit organization under the aegis of National Skill Development Corporation, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.


Skill Development Initiatives :


  • Thousands of candidates have been trained as yoga instructors through the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.


Fit India Movement :


  • Yoga is also a part of the Fit India Movement. Fit India Movement is a nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging people to include physical activities and sports in their daily lives.


Source – Economic Times And The Hindu. 


Practice Questions for Preliminary Exam : 


Q.1. Consider the following statements regarding International Yoga Day.

  1. The 9th edition of International Yoga Day was organized in the year 2024.
  2. On 11 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 June as International Yoga Day.
  3. The main reason for celebrating International Yoga Day on 21st June is that 21st June is the longest day of the year. 
  4. The theme of the first International Yoga Day was “Yoga for Harmony and Peace”.

Which of the above statement/statements is/ are  correct? 

A. Only 1, 2 and 3. 

B. Only 2, 3 and 4.

C. None of these. 

D. All of the above. 

Answer – B


Practice Questions for Main Exam : 


Q.1. Outline the main objectives of International Yoga Day and discuss how it serves as a powerful tool to promote healthy lifestyle of humans, improve physical and mental health and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs). How does it work? present a rational opinion. (UPSC CSE – 2019 Word Limit – 250 Marks – 15)

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