June 21, 2015 marks the first International Day of Yoga.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the idea for this day to the United Nations General Assembly to mark a movement to find peace and cooperation throughout the world.
Yoga, an ancient practice said to have begun over 5,000 years ago in the Indus Valley, uses breathing, meditation, and exercise to promote wellness and consciousness. Prime Minister Modi hopes that encouraging the world to embrace yoga will lead to a greater sense of community and partnership among nations.
In a statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “On this first-ever International Day of Yoga, let us see the benefits of this practice in terms of individual well-being as well as our collective efforts to improve public health, promote peaceful relations, and usher in a life of dignity for all.”
There are over 100 different types of yoga. Some forms of yoga focus on the spiritual journey to achieve peace or success through meditation and breathing exercises, while others incorporate physical activity to promote wellness of the spirit.
Events to mark the day are also expected to happen in countries around the world.