International Yoga Day 2024: Celebrating the Ancient Practice of Unity and Well-Being


Yoga takes you into the present moment, The only place where life exists.


Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, Yoga means “to join” or “to reunite”. It refers to a practice of harmonious integration (reunion) of body, mind and spirit. There are two main components of yoga— Pranayama, i.e.; breathing and Asana, i.e.; posture. More specifically, it is composed of physical exercises (postures), psychological measures (breathing techniques and mindfulness), and spiritual practices (meditation and awareness). There are 19 different types of yoga and 66 basic yoga postures.

Read More: Yoga: A Path to Psychological Well-Being

History and Significance of Yoga

An ancient practice that originated in India, yoga is now recognised worldwide and is a proven measure to achieve holistic well-being. The practice is said to have originated thousands of years ago and has been adopted in various ways by different countries. The word yoga was first mentioned in an ancient sacred text called the Rig Veda.

The practice evolved through the Vedic period and the Upanishads. Yoga is also detailed in the Bhagavad Gita as something aimed at purifying our actions and connecting us with the supreme power. It mentions various yoga paths— Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Later on, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras organised yoga into an eight-limbed practice, with an emphasis on ethical guidelines, postures and meditation. 

Focusing on breath control and postures, Hatha Yoga emerged in the medieval period to prepare the physical body for spiritual pursuits. The modern age has witnessed the global popularity of yoga, mainly credited to prominent figures like Swami Vivekananda, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, Paramhansa Yogananda, Sri Ravi Shankar, and Baba Ramdev, among many others.

In the 21st century, yoga has evolved into various styles, integrating both traditional and contemporary practices, and has become a global phenomenon recognised and valued for its holistic benefits. 

Read More; Yoga & Psychology: Bridging Ancient & Modern Wisdom

International Yoga Day 2024

International Yoga Day, designated by the United Nations in 2014, following a proposal by our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has been regularly celebrated annually on June 21. Every year, it commemorates with a special theme that highlights different aspects of yoga and its influence on health and society. The theme for International Yoga Day 2024 in India is ‘Yoga for Self and Society’.

Event Highlights

The main event being held in the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar, led by our Prime Minister, included a mass demonstration of yoga asanas. Some of the activities organised by the Government of India on this special occasion are listed down below—

  • Prime Minister’s Awards for Yoga
  • Yoga Tech Challenge 2024
  • Yoga For Life Quiz

In addition to this, numerous events are going to be organised across the country, and internationally, that include workshops in schools and colleges, yoga sessions at the community level and various cultural performances.

One of Hinduism’s six schools of philosophy, yoga additionally has an important role in Buddhism and its practices of meditation. While Yoga is not a part of any particular religion, it has gained so much prominence over the years, and can be studied in depth to the point that it can be regarded as a religion in its own right!

Read More: How Meditation Changes Your Brain

Tweets and social media:

With International Yoga Day 2024, social media is full of posts about Yoga and its benefits. Prime Minister Modi signified how Yoga can be incorporated into daily life apart from the day of its celebration. Leaders like Shashi Tharoor have acknowledged the importance and efforts for bringing Yoga to an international platform. With this year’s theme for “Yoga for Self and Society”, many celebrities, be it from the political or the entertainment industries, and numerous leaders have come forward with their tweets describing how Yoga can contribute to the personal advancement of a self and harmonious society.

Benefits of Yoga on our mental well-being

Yoga is a tradition over 3,000 years back and is now prevalent across the globe. On this 10th International Yoga Day with the theme of “Yoga for self and society”, here is a psycho-social interpretation of Yoga. Several studies have proven the efficacy of Yoga in reducing diverse sets of mental illnesses magnificently.

  • Strength with flexibility: Often Yoga is associated only with body flexibility instead of strength whereas many Yoga forms focus on strength-specific asanas. Yoga can be certainly beneficial for strength and flexibility both.
  • Mental well-being: Yoga not only limits us to physical benefits; it plays a huge role in determining the calmness of the psyche by focusing on the seven chakras. A medical director of the psychiatry department mentions how she practices yoga because it provides a fascinating blend of light exercises with regulated breathing and meditation.
  • Yoga for hormonal balance: Since Yoga comprises light exercise, the secretion of stress-inducing hormones is reduced significantly. Along with this, happy hormones like endorphins are secreted in an increased amount.
  • Is Yoga anti-aging? Much research has showcased how prolonged Yoga can reduce the enlargement of the brain area responsible for the anti-ageing process. This also ensures that memory and cognition are sustained to the maximum extent in old age.
  • Can inflexible people do Yoga? There is often a misconception that people with good flexibility can only perform Yoga, this is not true. Even regulating your breaths with a structured approach can be the initiating step as a form of meditation.

What are the resources available? 

With Yoga getting popularized, many Yoga centres are available in diverse residential areas. Many people find it difficult to take time out for regular yoga classes, it is significant to understand that now online Yoga is completely possible with platforms like Zoom and Google Meet. Even if online classes are not budget-friendly, YouTube is one of the best platforms that provide start and guidance to beginners Yogi.

References +
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  • Business Standard. (2024, June 21). International Yoga Day 2024: Celebrations in India and around the world.
  • 9 Benefits of yoga. (2021, August 8). Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  • Nichols, H. (2019, September 23). What are the health benefits of yoga?
  • Yoga: What you need to know. (n.d.). NCCIH.
  • Sharma, Y. K., Sharma, S. K., & Sharma, E. (2018). Scientific benefits of Yoga: A Review. ResearchGate.
  • Batra, N. (2024, June 20). International Yoga Day on 21 June: List of activities and events in India and around the world.
  • Explore the ancient roots of yoga – Google Arts & Culture. (n.d.). Google Arts & Culture.
  • Kulsari, S. (2023, June 26). The Importance of Yoga in Bhagavad Gita. Medium.
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