silhouettes in nature demonstrating yoga poses
The practice of Yoga brings joy, health, peace from within and deepens a sense of connection between an individual's inner consciousness and the external world.
Photo:Permanent Mission of India to the UN

2022 Theme: Yoga for humanity

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented human tragedy. Beyond its immediate impact on physical health, the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated psychological suffering and mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, as pandemic-related restrictions were introducedin various forms in many countries. This has highlighted the urgent need to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic, in addition to the physical health aspects. 

People around the world embraced yoga to stay healthy and rejuvenated and to fight social isolation and depression   during the pandemic. Yoga is also playing a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. It is particularly helpful in allaying their fears and anxiety.

In addition to the human suffering, the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted several key vulnerabilities of the economic and developmental models of countries around the world. Future prosperity demands that the member states rebuild differently as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The essence of yoga is balance - not just balance within the body or that between the mind and the body, but also balance in the human relationship with the world. Yoga emphasizes the values of mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance. When applied to communities and societies, Yoga offers a path for sustainable living.

Yoga can be an important instrument in the collective quest of humanity for promoting sustainable lifestyle in harmony with planet Earth. In keeping with this spirit, the theme for this year’s Yoga Day celebrations is “Yoga for Humanity.”

2022 events

Learn Yoga from the Masters

The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations invites you to a celebration of the 8th annual International Yoga Day on 20 June 2022, from 5:30-7:30 pm EST at the North Lawn of UN Headquarters in New York, featuring a lecture and yoga demonstration. See the programme.

Watch live on UN WebTV.

yoga day events

The World of Yoga

The Permanent Mission of India to the UN presents “The World of Yoga” exhibition at the UN Delegates’ entrance from 21 June - 1 July 2022. The digital exhibition offers a glimpse into the annual celebrations of the Day and presents a standardized set of Yoga practices, called the 'Common Yoga Protocol,' a good starting point for beginners to get inducted into the highly rewarding world of Yoga.

yoga pose

What is Yoga and why do we celebrate it?

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.

Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.

The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states. The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

The resolution notes “the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health.” In this regard, the World Health Organization has also urged its member states to help their citizens reduce physical inactivity, which is among the top ten leading causes of death worldwide, and a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

But yoga is more than a physical activity. In the words of one of its most famous practitioners, the late B. K. S. Iyengar, “Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”

woman with baby doing yoga

The COVID-19 pandemic means that many of us are staying at home  and sitting down more than we usually do. It’s hard for a lot of us to do the sort of exercise we normally do. It’s even harder for people who don’t usually do a lot of physical exercise. But at a time like this, it’s very important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. WHO’s Be Active campaign aims to help you do just that - and to have some fun at the same time.

woman sitting in yoga pose

WHO in collaboration with the Government of India, has launched WHO mYoga - a yoga app to help people stay active and healthy. The app contains a collection of videos and audio files to teach and accompany yoga practice, and is an easy-to-use and free tool for both people, who are trying yoga for the first time, and for those who already practice yoga regularly. The app was developed by BeHe@lthy BeMobile, a joint initiative between the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunication Union.

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.