This Sunday, June 21, is the first ever International Day of Yoga! U.N. leaders from 130 countries decided that the world needed a day devoted to building a healthy lifestyle and creating consciousness, and cities around the world have responded by planning a gazillion events in 176 countries for this Sunday. Here are some of our favorites:
New Delhi at Rajpath
The largest event comes from the yoga motherland, India. Organizers are planning for at least 37,000 people to show up, earning this inaugural International Day of Yoga event a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, under "largest yoga demonstration/class at single venue". Schoolchildren, government workers and the military will all be participating, along with whomever else shows up!
The event begins with a statement by Prime Minister Modhi, who initiated the International Day of Yoga at the U.N., and then have a 35 minute demonstration of 15 yoga asanas (poses), called the Common Yoga Protocol. You are encouraged to join the spectacle in your own country, following along with the movements while watching the video.
More information on the event can be found on the International Day of Yoga website.
New York City in Times Square
Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind Over Madness is about helping you find peace and balance right in the middle of the most hectic spot in New York City. This thirteen year old tradition now coincides with International Day of Yoga, and dignitaries from the U.N. are expected to join the event.
The daylong event features classes taught by leading yoga instructors, supports yoga oriented charities, and video will be broadcast live so anyone in the world can join in. And, if you’re in the area, you’ll also be able to watch classes on the big screen atop One Times Square. Learn more and register.
London in Alexandra Palace
London's International Day of Yoga will be led by some of the UK's leading yoga teachers as they salute the sun on the longest day of the year. From 8am - 8pm at the lovely Alexandra Palace grounds. See the schedule and register on their UN International Yoga Day website.
San Francisco in Marina Green Park
San Francisco's contribution to International Day of yoga is an event at their glorious Marina Green with leading yoga teachers from around San Francisco presenting the "Common Yoga Protocol," a set of postures and pranayama designed by India's leading yoga experts. This family friendly event is also a Zero Waste Event, so bring a snack to eat and to share in reusable containers for water and food. And don't forget your yoga mat! Read more and register here.
Hong Kong at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
Hong Kong's contribution to the International Day of Yoga is a great family friendly event that includes a free IDY yoga mat and t-shirt and bottle water to the first 1,500 participants! Yes, you read that right. The program begins at 7:30am and is followed by special topics, such as yoga for children and yoga for business executives. Register online here.
About U.N. International Day of Yoga
Last December, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, asked world leaders to adopt an International Day of Yoga, saying that by changing lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Addressing the 193-member UN General Assembly in United Nations. Modi said “Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day,” Noting that Yoga is “an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition”, he said: “It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
Why June 21? The Summer Solstice makes a fitting date for the International Day of Yoga, because, as Mr. Modi explained, "the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world."
And yes, the Summer Solstice and the first International Day of Yoga coincide with Father's Day this year. Perhaps a yoga class with dad is a good idea? Check out the full list of International Day of Yoga events on the official website.