Yoga is a way of life: Prime Minister Modi at International Day of Yoga mega event
The theme for this year's event was 'Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’
The 9th International Day of Yoga was celebrated on June 21, 2023, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The event was led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was attended by thousands of yoga enthusiasts from over 135 nationalities, setting a Guinness World Record for the most nationalities participating in a yoga session.
The theme for this year's event was 'Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, which translates to "One Earth, One Family, One Future”. The event was graced by several notable dignitaries and prominent personalities from all walks of life, including diplomats, officials, academicians, health professionals, technocrats, and industry leaders.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the unifying power of yoga, stating, "Yoga means - to Unite. So, your coming together is an expression of another form of yoga. Yoga comes from India". He went to describe the ancient Indian tradition of Yoga as living and dynamic.
"Yoga is free - from copyright, free from patents, and free from royalty payments. Yoga is adaptable - to your age, gender, and fitness level. Yoga is portable - you can do it at home, or at work, or in transit. Yoga is flexible - you can practice it alone, or in a group, learn from a teacher, or be self-taught. Yoga is unifying - it is for everyone, for all ethnicities, for all faiths, and for all cultures. Yoga is truly universal," Prime Minister Modi remarked.
"Yoga is a way of life. A holistic approach to health and wellbeing. A way to have mindfulness in thoughts and actions. A way to live in harmony - with self, with others and with nature," Prime Minister Modi explained.
The Prime Minister also paid respects to the valiant UN Peacekeepers and mentioned the new memorial built at the UN in their memory, a project that the world joined hands with India to realize.
The event focused not only on the physical aspects of yoga but also delved into its philosophical and ethical dimensions. During the gathering UN General Assembly President Csaba Korosi shared his personal journey with yoga and highlighted the profound impact it has had on his understanding of its ethical principles.
Through his dedicated practice of yoga, Korosi mentioned gaining a deeper comprehension of yoga's ethical guide, which encompasses principles such as non-stealing, non-greed, and non-violence. These principles serve as moral compasses, guiding individuals towards a more sustainable way of life.
Hollywood actor Richard Gere, who was also present at the event, expressed his appreciation for the peaceful and inclusive nature of the celebration. He told UN News, “Usually we come to the UN, it's very political, very goal-oriented to getting something done. But this is a place where you can feel that everyone is part of one family."
The International Day of Yoga was a shining example of the healthy integration of diverse ethnicities from India, the United States, and beyond. The event, which brought together thousands of yoga enthusiasts from over 135 nationalities, was a testament to the unifying power of yoga and its ability to transcend borders and cultural differences.
The celebration also highlighted the shared commitment of India and the United Nations to promoting health, wellness, and peace through yoga. It served as a platform for cultural exchange and mutual understanding, fostering a sense of global community and shared humanity.