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Why June 21 became International Day of Yoga?

June 21 is celebrated as the International Day of Yoga
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Last year, on June 21, 2015, the first International Day of Yoga was celebrated with various programmes organised the world over.

June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. This was in response to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for adopting June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. This India led resolution had 175 out of 193 countries joining in as co-sponsors, the highest number for any resolution in the history of the United Nations General Assembly.

First International Day of Yoga was celebrated on June 21, 2015; Image credit
First International Day of Yoga was celebrated on June 21, 2015; Image credit

Scientifically, June 21 is a summer solstice day when the Earth’s axis in the Northern Hemisphere is most inclined towards the Sun. This makes it the longest day in the northern hemisphere, where the sun rises early and sets late. But choosing June 21 as the international day for this 6,000-year-old practice has a mythological connection as well.

According to Indian mythology, this day of summer solstice, is considered significant as it marks the beginning of Yogic science. As the story goes, Lord Shiva, one of the triumvirates, is considered the first yogi in yogic culture. When people saw him, they flocked to him for enlightenment, but he remained oblivious to their presence. Only seven people stayed back, adamant to learn from the God. But Shiva refused to teach them saying a lot of preparation was required. But they declined to leave and waited for eighty-four years, sitting in sadhana. It was on June 21, the day of the summer solstice when Shiva relented and took notice of them. After twenty-eight days on the next full moon, the great Lord transformed himself into Adiguru and began teaching the seven disciples the ways of yogic science.

Other interesting events that took place on June 21 over the years are:

1749: Halifax, legally known as Halifax Regional Municipality, the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada is founded.

1768: Dr John Archer becomes the first to receive the US Bachelor of Medicine degree.

1788: The US Constitution came into effect, when as the 9th state New Hampshire ratified it.

1834: The reaping machine is patented by American inventor and businessperson Cyrus Hall McCormick.

1893: The first Ferris wheel premieres at the Chicago’s Columbian Exposition.

1907: The United Press founded by EW Scripps.

1913: Tiny Broadwick becomes the first to parachute from an aeroplane.

1921: The British Commonwealth of Nations is formed with the UK, the Dominions and India as its part.

1948: The first stored computer program runs on the Manchester Mark I.

1948: Formerly the last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten resigns as the Governor General of India.

1956: Antiprotons are detected in the atmosphere

1957: Ending the longest uninterrupted run at the federal level, as the Prime Minister of Canada, Louis St. Laurent resigns.

1969: ‘With God’s Help Peace’ (WGHP), the first ever hearing on the pirate radio was reported on this day.

1992: Ian Botham and Allan Lamb bade goodbye to the world of Test cricket on this day.

1993: Renowned English Mathematician Andrew Wiles proves the last theorem of Fermat.

1994: After losing out to Lorrie McNeal in Wimbledon, Steffi Graf becomes the first defending champion to lose out in the first round of a tournament.

2001: Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo becomes the first Hispanic woman to be honoured on an American postage stamp.

2006: Pluto’s newly discovered moons are given names officially, Nix and Hydra.

2009: Saina Nehwal becomes the first Indian to win the Badminton Super Series.

2013: The first case of H6N1 virus is discovered in Taiwan, China.


Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala

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