International Yoga Day on 21st June, 2015

Celebration Of International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2015

International Yoga Day on 21st June, 2015

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s uncanny knack to convert small opportunities into big public relation (PR) events is well known, the latest being the International Yoga Day. Last year, in his United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech, Modi said, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; 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 us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

The UN accepted his proposal and declared June 21 as the “International Yoga Day” which was supported by 177 member nations. The UN’s decision led to an unimaginable euphoria among Modi fans as it gave them a reason to rejoice and increase their aggressiveness towards non-Modi supporters.

While proposing June 21 as the International Yoga Day, Modi said that the date was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and had special significance in many parts of the world.

However, it is interesting to note that June 21 coincides with the death anniversary of Keshav Baliram Hegdewar, who founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925.

With the first International Yoga Day just three weeks away, grand preparations are already underway. A grand event is scheduled at Rajpath which is expected to have 100,000 people. The central government has extended invitations to all members of Parliament (MPs), Bollywood stars, cricketers, and others. A logo has been launched after being designed by a committee of experts constituted by the department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and Modi himself. Though Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi have been invited for the event, the Congress has slammed the event terming it a photo op and PR event.

Modi will lead the event at Rajpath with yoga exercises and asanas. Accompanying him will be 10,000 defence and paramilitary personnel.

Generally, when these special days are celebrated, they are linked to either some historical event or the death/birth anniversary of a famous personality. Though June 21 is the longest day of the year, the rationale behind it is quite surprising, with the day, which holds immense significance for Modi and India, coinciding with the death anniversary of the RSS founder.

Have your say. You can comment here.RSS workers played a critical role in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) spectacular success in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Even the candidate for BJP’s presidentship is decided by RSS functionaries. Therefore, owing to the RSS’ larger than life say in BJP’s affairs, it is important that Modi’s relationship with the RSS continues well.

Modi bamboozled the world to achieve two objectives. First, leverage the concept of yoga to further his image and PR across the world. Second, attribute the day to the founder of RSS to please the RSS functionaries. It is evident that the global response will boost Modi’s image, catapult his position as a global leader and please the RSS. By organising yoga day on June 21, Modi has proved that under any circumstances, BJP’s umbilical cord with the RSS will never be under stress.

International Yoga Day on 21st June, 2015

Who owns yoga?

Objections from India’s Muslim community are not the only point of strain. Although yoga’s roots are undeniably Indian, much of what is practiced today is an Americanized version.

There are over 25 million people who practice yoga in the United States alone, by far the largest single market, and that’s grown 33% since 2009, according to a study from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

Father of modern yoga dies 01:54

It’s a multi-billion dollar market that extends to $420 yoga leggings and $140 mats.

The vigorous push from the Indian government has given new life to a debate over who owns yoga and what defines it.

Newly-appointed Indian minister for yoga Shripad Yesso Naik said it’s something India wants to reclaim from the west.

“We’re trying to establish to the world that it’s ours,” Naid told the Washington Post.

Noah Maze, a LA-based yoga teacher however believes the yoga practiced today is something new.

“While it has roots in practices from India, and certainly we can find lists of asanas in some of the medieval alchemical texts of hatha yoga, what is practiced today really is an innovation and evolution of what was practiced traditionally,” Maze said.

“I would expect that Indian yogis may be looking at yoga’s explosion internationally, and feeling a sense of ownership and entitlement to the practices and concepts,” Maze added.

Yoga booty ballet anyone?

Striking the right balance between respecting the tradition’s roots and its new incarnations as yoga’s popularity surges is a question many practitioners grapple with.

“I quiver a bit when hearing of the lax usage of the word ‘yoga’ these days,” said Tim Feldmann, an Ashtanga teacher who co-founded the Miami Life Center with his yogi wife Kino Macgregor.

“A yoga studio down the road from us here in Miami offers ‘yoga booty ballet’. In my ear, that is obviously an only commercial aspirational use of the word.”

For Macgregor, it’s a mindset much more than the ability to twist like a pretzel and she emphasizes it’s open to anyone.

“This brilliance does not belong to any one culture,” she said.

International Yoga Day is on 21st June,2015. make ‘World Yoga Day’ a major offering of yoga. Join us to make the most of Yoga Day.