Did you know that there is an International Yoga Day?!
To me (and maybe to you), every day is yoga day but on June 21st, the entire world recognizes and celebrates this incredible practice.
A little background on International Yoga Day
An international day for yoga was declared by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2014, and it’s celebrated on June 21st.
The idea was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his UN address, he suggested the date of June 21st, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (the summer solstice), and shares special significance in many parts of the world. In his speech, he stated:
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well-being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day. “
— Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly
1. Shake Your Asana!
Ok, this one’s obvious, but one way to celebrate the day is to practice! International Yoga Day falls on the summer solstice, which is one of the seasonal shifts we experience throughout the year.
Practicing 108 sun salutations is a beautiful tradition for the seasonal shifts, and it’s perfect for the summer solstice. To read more about the summer solstice, and to practice 108 sun salutations, check out the Summer Solstice Guide.
If you don’t have time for 108 sun salutations, no sweat! Move through as many rounds as you have time for. If you’re unsure what sun salutations are, this sun salutation tutorial breaks that down!
2. Get Quiet
This is another obvious one, but seeing as meditation is such a big part of yoga, getting in a meditation practice is also a great way to celebrate International Yoga Day.
If you’re new to meditation, or you’d like to try something new, check out the app Insight Timer. This meditation app gives you access to tons of guided meditations from many different yoga teachers (including yours truly 😉 ).
3. Share the Wealth!
Introduce someone to yoga on this International Yoga day! It could be a friend or a coworker; someone you love, or someone you don’t like so much; someone who could use it (you know who I’m talking about).
You know how awesome yoga is – share that shit!
I challenge you to invite someone who’s not currently into yoga to attend a class or yoga event with you. Show them the way; who knows, you might just change a life.
4. Check Out a new Studio/Class
Take that new yoga friend and try something new. If you live in a city, then there are probably a few yoga studios to choose from. It’s easy to stick with the same studio and same teacher or style of class, but it’s always nice to get fresh perspectives on the practice.
International Yoga Day is a great day to get out of your comfort zone and try a different style, with a fresh new instructor, at an entirely new yoga studio. Plus, a lot of studios offer discounts and even free classes on this day, so take advantage!
5. Get Your Karma Yoga On!
Karma means “selfless action” in Sanskrit, and karma yoga is the yoga of selfless action. In other words, giving back. Yoga is all about serving the greater good; there are tons of organizations out there that do great work for people, animals, and places in need, and you could help them!
This is a good day to donate time, energy, and/or money to an organization, reputable charity, or person. Offer to run errands for a busy mom, cook a meal for a family that’s going through a tough time, or help a friend or acquaintance who might be sick.
Yoga teaches us that we are all connected, and helping a fellow human being (and/or animal) is a great way to remind us of this beautiful connection.
6. Set a Sankalpa
A Sankalpa is utilized in the practice of Yoga Nidra, and it is an intention, resolution, or desire. This is not your typical “I want to lose 30 pounds”-style resolution. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but a Sankalpa is something far deeper; it is something that you desire on a heartfelt level, that you would like to see come to fruition in your life.
The summer solstice/International Yoga Day is the perfect day to set intentions for the coming summer months.
Your Sankalpa can be anything you want it to be; here are a few things to keep in mind:
– Make it a simple, clear, concise, one-sentence statement
– Look at it as adding to your already perfect life – not something you need to achieve in order to be fulfilled
– Use terminology that you are comfortable with, but try to use the present tense, as though it has already come to be
Some examples are “I am love” “I am abundant” “I am healthy and whole” “I have all that I need” “I am enough”. If you’d like to learn more about the Sankalpa and Yoga Nidra, check out the Yoga Nidra Guide.
Did you know that the UN recognized June 21st as an international yoga day?
Have you celebrated at all the past couple of years?
Do you plan to celebrate this year? I hope so!
Please share your plans in the comments below; I’d love to hear how you’re getting involved!
As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, please drop them in the comments below or shoot me an email 😃
Happy Yoga Day!