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International Yoga Day 2024: Celebration, Theme, and Events

The International Day of Yoga is celebrated annually on June 21st, and this year marks its 10th anniversary. The theme for 2024 is “Yoga for Self and Society,” highlighting the event’s ongoing commitment to promoting well-being, global health, and peace. This year’s celebration, organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in collaboration with the UN Secretariat, will take place at the UN Headquarters in New York. As we delve into the significance of this day and the chosen theme, let’s explore how yoga contributes to personal well-being and the betterment of society.

The Essence of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. The term “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuj,” which means to unite or join, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. Yoga encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions, and has been recognized for its numerous health benefits. On December 11, 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, acknowledging its universal appeal and importance in promoting healthier lifestyles.

Why Celebrate International Yoga Day?

The primary aim of International Yoga Day is to raise global awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga. It is a day to celebrate the holistic approach yoga offers for well-being, combining physical exercise with mindfulness and meditation. Yoga promotes a balanced lifestyle, encouraging healthier choices and fostering good health.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, who proposed the idea of International Yoga Day to the UN General Assembly, described yoga as “an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition.” He highlighted its role in uniting mind and body, thought and action, and providing a holistic approach to health and well-being.

2024 Theme: Yoga for Self and Society

This year marks the 10th International Day of Yoga with the theme “Yoga for Self and Society.” Yoga is a transformative practice that harmonizes the mind and body, balances thought and action, and unites restraint and fulfillment. It integrates the body, mind, spirit, and soul, offering a holistic approach to health and well-being. On this special day, we celebrate yoga’s power to bring peace to our hectic lives.

The 10th International Yoga Day Event

The 10th International Yoga Day event will be held on June 21, 2024, at 6:00 pm (EDT) at the UN Headquarters in New York. The event is organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in collaboration with the UN Secretariat and will take place in the North Lawn Area of the UNHQ. This significant gathering will bring together yoga practitioners, enthusiasts, and leaders from around the world to celebrate the benefits of yoga and its role in empowering women.

The Global Appeal of Yoga

Yoga has grown in popularity worldwide, with millions of people practicing it in various forms. The practice’s appeal lies in its accessibility and versatility, catering to individuals of all ages, genders, and fitness levels. Whether practiced in a traditional setting or through modern adaptations, yoga’s core principles remain the same: promoting physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual growth.

WHO mYoga: A Tool for Global Health

In collaboration with the Government of India, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the WHO mYoga app, designed to help people stay active and healthy. Available for free on Android and Apple devices, the app offers a collection of videos and audio files to guide users through yoga practices. This tool is ideal for both beginners and regular practitioners, providing easy access to yoga sessions ranging from 3 to 45 minutes.

The WHO mYoga app was developed as part of the global Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023, aiming to strengthen the quality, safety, and effectiveness of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. By promoting regular physical activity, the app supports WHO’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030, which emphasizes the importance of integrating physical activity into daily life to enhance health and well-being.

Yoga: A Comprehensive Approach to Health

The practice of yoga offers a comprehensive approach to health, addressing physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Regular physical activity, such as yoga, is a well-established protective factor against non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes. Additionally, yoga is associated with improved mental health, helping prevent and manage conditions like anxiety and depression.

Yoga also promotes social well-being, fostering a sense of community and connectedness. Practicing yoga in group settings or through online communities can enhance social interactions and support networks, contributing to overall happiness and life satisfaction.

Yoga’s Cultural Heritage

Yoga’s influence extends beyond physical exercise, deeply ingrained in India’s cultural and spiritual heritage. Traditionally transmitted through the Guru-Shishya (master-pupil) model, yoga has been taught and practiced in ashrams, schools, universities, and community centers. Ancient manuscripts and scriptures, along with modern literature, provide a wealth of knowledge about yoga’s philosophy and practices.

In 2016, yoga was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, recognizing its cultural significance and contribution to global heritage. This acknowledgment underscores yoga’s role in promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

Empowering Women Through Yoga

The theme “Yoga for Women’s Empowerment” highlights yoga’s potential to empower women by enhancing their physical health, mental clarity, and emotional resilience. Yoga practices such as asanas (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation offer numerous benefits for women:

  1. Physical Health: Yoga helps improve flexibility, strength, and balance, which are essential for women’s overall health. It also aids in managing conditions like menstrual disorders, menopause symptoms, and hormonal imbalances.
  2. Mental Clarity: Mindful practices in yoga enhance focus, concentration, and cognitive function. This mental clarity can help women manage stress, anxiety, and depression more effectively.
  3. Emotional Resilience: Yoga promotes emotional well-being by encouraging self-awareness and mindfulness. This helps women build resilience, cope with life’s challenges, and maintain a positive outlook.
  4. Self-Empowerment: By fostering a sense of inner strength and confidence, yoga empowers women to take control of their lives, make informed decisions, and pursue their goals with determination.

Yoga for All Ages and Stages

Yoga is a versatile practice that benefits women at all stages of life. From young girls to elderly women, yoga offers tailored practices to meet individual needs and preferences. For instance:

  • Adolescents: Yoga can help teenage girls manage stress and develop a positive body image.
  • Pregnant Women: Prenatal yoga supports physical health and emotional well-being during pregnancy, preparing women for childbirth and motherhood.
  • Middle-Aged Women: Yoga aids in managing menopause symptoms and maintaining overall health during midlife.
  • Elderly Women: Gentle yoga practices enhance mobility, balance, and joint health, promoting independence and quality of life in older age.

Yoga as a Global Movement

The celebration of International Yoga Day has transformed yoga into a global movement, inspiring millions to embrace its practices and philosophies. By emphasizing women’s empowerment, this year’s theme aims to create a ripple effect, encouraging more women to engage in yoga and experience its transformative power.

As yoga continues to grow in popularity, it is crucial to maintain its integrity and authenticity. Practitioners and instructors must uphold the values of yoga, promoting inclusivity, respect, and compassion. By doing so, yoga can continue to be a force for positive change in the world, contributing to global health, peace, and empowerment.


The 10th International Day of Yoga, with its theme “Yoga for Women’s Empowerment,” underscores the profound impact of yoga on women’s lives. By promoting physical health, mental clarity, and emotional resilience, yoga empowers women to navigate life’s challenges and achieve their fullest potential. As we celebrate this significant milestone, let us embrace the transformative power of yoga and its role in fostering a healthier, more peaceful, and empowered world for all.

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