A few years ago, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi made an appeal at the United Nations. As a result, 177 United Nations member states assigned June 21 as a day to recognize the benefits of yoga. International Day of Yoga 2017 will be celebrated around the world. Now, tens of thousands convene for mass meditations and sun salutations.
For International Day of Yoga 2017, India’s Prime Minister, senior officials and yoga gurus are expected to lead more than 50,000 people in Lucknow, India. Nearly a dozen events will take place in Delhi. One, in Red Fort, can accommodate 50,000. In Southern India, venues even include a women's correctional facility.
Prime Minister Modi is a man who respects the ancient traditions, while moving forward. In a Facebook video he posted this week, he talked about the benefits of yoga on society. “People want to live a happy life, and this can be possible only through yoga." Yoga can make it possible for a person to have a balanced lifestyle mentally and physically, he explained. "Yoga can arouse the inner conscience of a person.”
While cities around the world honor this day with special public yoga and meditation practices, the UN will host two days of activities. The Indian Mission to the United Nations is responsible for the impressive lineup June 20 and 21.
Among the yogis are California-based Seane Corn, Sharon Gannon of New York City’s Jivamukti Yoga and Gurmukh, who popularized Kundalini Yoga in Los Angeles. Also on the lineup is Swami Sivadasananda, a senior teacher of Sivananda Yoga (my yoga roots). His session, expected to attract 1,500 participants, will be televised in India.
Other guests are spiritual leaders from India. President of Divine Shakti Foundation, Sadhvi Bhagawatiji, and H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, who runs an ashram, both reside in Rishikesh.
Additionally, there will be discussion on Yoga and Health with World Health Organization officials, Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D and others. Finally, there will be pranayama, meditation and chanting. Grammy nominated Jai Uttal will lead thousands with his eclectic world rhythms.
Jai humbly, said, “Finally, after well over 5,000 years, yoga has made it into the modern calendar. International Day of Yoga is a celebration of the dedication and commitment of countless seekers, from time immemorial, who have discovered and then shared the path of healing and realization that is yoga. Starting in the West as a fad, the many styles and forms of yoga (and there ARE many) have become a healing balm to our hearts and souls in these troubled times. I bow in gratitude to the United Nations for acknowledging this ancient and sacred wisdom.”
The event coincides with Jai’s tour promoting his 19th album Roots! Rock! Rama! Named for Bob Marley’s “Roots Rock Reggae,” Jai’s three Rs celebrate Rama (God), reggae and classic Indian ragas. As an extension of his new double CD, Jai released a single, “H.E.L.P." for International Day of Yoga.
“We hear all the translations and interpretations of the mantras. But to me," Jai said, "they’re all saying ‘Help!’ You know? Like, ‘God, help me. I cannot take the next step without your help.’”
California-based Jai returns to New York where he was raised. His father was influential in the music industry in the 50s and 60s. So, Jai picked up an appreciation for the Beatles, Marley and other rock luminaries. Then, in the 70s he studied traditional Indian music. In India, he began his bhakti (devotional) yoga practice. As such, kirtan became the center of Jai’s musical and spiritual life.
Multiple Texas events will honor this day. Following, are just a few.
International Day of Yoga 2017 at Tripoint Event Center. A free family-friendly festival runs alongside a CME-accredited conference for health practitioners.
The Indian Consulate is hosting a celebration June 17 at the State Capitol.
June 24, the Hindu Temple of Woodlands will be at Town Green Park leading bhajans (songs), meditation and hatha yoga.
The official International Day of Yoga 2017 event is June 25 at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in Irving. Yoga mats will be provided, and breakfast served.