By August 4, 2023 Read More →

International Day of Yoga Celebration at the UNHQ

International Day of Yoga declared by the United Nations (UN), is celebrated annually on June 21, highlighting this invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition to the world. It is a day of raising awareness about the numerous benefits of yoga in promoting holistic health and well-being.

The theme for the 9th International Yoga Day 2023 was ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, symbolizing One Earth, One Future, One Family.

The International Day of Yoga was all about the spirit of unity. The event was a celebration of 133 countries; it brought the world together to send a message of oneness among all living beings.

The President of United Nations General Assembly (UNPGA), H.E. Mr. Csaba Korosi, along with Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, and Honorable Mayor of New York City, Mr. Eric Adams addressed the audience.Prime Minister Narendra Modi was warmly welcomed as he arrived to lead this auspicious day of yoga and share his message on yoga. The celebration was beautifully moderated by Ms. Denise Scotto, Chair of the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN.

UNPGA Mr. Korosi spoke about the importance of Yoga, stating, “Yoga changes our physical performance but it can spark in us different mental and intellectual performance. Our world needs balance and self-control. Yoga is one of the means of achieving this.”

Mayor of New York City Eric Adams also expressed his pride at being a part of the event, saying, “this International Yoga Day is a call for us to stand up for humankind across the globe and all living beings.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded all that “Yoga is a way of life. A holistic approach to health and well-being. A way to mindfulness in thoughts and actions. A way to live in harmony with self, with others and with nature.”

Organizing an event of this grandeur calls for tremendous attention to details. Brahma Kumaris at the UN, among other Yoga Groups and NGOs, were invited to participate in various ways, one of which was to be volunteers for the special event at the UNHQ on June 21 itself. It entailed two days of training conducted by the Permanent Mission of India who was hosting the celebrations.  During these two days, each step of the program was given the same level of scrutiny, importance, and extreme attention to details; from managing the participants as they arrived to retrieving their entry passes to seating them in their respective places.

On the day of the program, volunteers started preparations from 4:00am – 2,500 yoga mats were laid out, bottles of water and bags for shoes were placed by each mat. After completing this task by 5:30am, volunteers were positioned at the strategic places to hand out entry passes and guide participants to their respective places on the North Lawn.

A delegation of nearly 50 BKs were present. Please find below the experiences of a few of them.

“The International Day of Yoga, without a doubt, uplifted my spirit and left an indelible impression on my heart. It was most definitely wonderful and the atmosphere was magical!  As you walked through the United Nations and entered the beautiful gardens, it was a sea of bright yellow yoga mats with many people milling about patiently waiting for the start of this auspicious program. People from all around the globe gathered together for this beautiful experience and historical event. I was amazed to see how everyone came together and united in this cause. Perhaps the biggest highlight for me was witnessing Prime Minister, Modi of India walk through the crowds meeting the attendees with so much humility and grace. His words melted my heart and helped me believe that there is good in this world. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and I am blessed to have been a part of it. Thank you!”

Phyllis Boughton, CT

“It was a mesmerizing experience to participate in an international yoga day program. Theme of the program “The World is one family” itself was so welcoming, that everyone came together & each one’s faces were so glowing. It was a moment of pride, being part of creating the Guinness book of world record, where 135 countries came together to perform yoga on such an auspicious day. 6 Little angels were a big inspiration, how they were guiding such a big crowd to perform yoga. Key note from Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi was very heart touching, yoga is union, free from copyright, pattern, adoptable at any age, gender & fitness level, portable, flexible, unifying, truly universal, way of life, way to mindfulness in thought & action, harmony with self, others & nature, physically feet, mentally calm & emotionally content. Personally, I took to incorporating physical yoga with mental yoga on a daily basis.”

Namrata Shah, NJ

“I felt honored to be a volunteer for the IDY and work for the PMI and thought it would be a great learning experience. I realized what an amazing amount of planning was input and how the mission was dealing with each aspect of the program with utmost regard for us. It was a humbling experience. The dynamics among the volunteers was one of acceptance, respect, and unity which yoga exemplifies. It was intense, but a joy to participate in this way.”

Errol Ellis, CT, Volunteer

Watch a flavor of the event:

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