World Yoga Day 2022: How The Ancient Indian Practice Became A Western Fad

International Yoga Day is observed on June 21 every year to raise the awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga.

By Simran Srivastav
Mon, 20 Jun 2022 05:37 PM IST
Minute Read
World Yoga Day 2022: How The Ancient Indian Practice Became A Western Fad
Image Credits: ANI

Yoga not only helps in creating a healthy and better lifestyle but also proved beneficial in illness prevention and making a person calm and composed. In contemporary times, people across the globe have incorporated Yoga into their lifestyle for maintaining a healthy life cycle. The term Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj, which means to join or to unite.

On June 21, International Yoga Day is observed every year to raise awareness worldwide about the benefits of practising yoga. The idea of celebrating International Yoga Day was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 at UN General Assembly. He stated, 'Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition'. Even though Yoga originated in India centuries ago, it gained more popularity in Western countries than in India.

According to research by Pew Research Centre, most Indians do not do Yoga despite being originated here. Only 35 per cent of Indian adults practice yoga, of which 7 per cent do yoga daily, 6 per cent practice yoga weekly and 22 per cent practice yoga monthly or less. Meanwhile, 62 per cent of Indians have never done yoga.

Yoga is more popular in Western countries and as per recent research, it is practised by many in the US and Europe. According to National Health Interview Survey conducted in 2017 in the US, 14 per cent of adults in the US had practised yoga in the past year. Moreover, according to the Pew research centre, in 2017, 40 per cent of people in Sweden, 39 per cent in Portugal and 38 per cent in Finland see yoga as a spiritual practice, not just as an exercise. With yoga becoming popular over the years, its industry is also generating a lot of revenue. As per Statista, the yoga industry generated around 11.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 in the United States. In 2015, the majority of the yoga industry's revenue was generated through yoga classes.

Apart from the worldwide celebration of International Yoga Day, many Indian yoga gurus popularised yoga across the world years ago. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who is called the 'Father of Modern Yoga', is credited for almost every form of yoga practised today. His disciples, Indra Devi, Pattabhi Jois and B. K. S. Iyengar, were also one of the most popular yoga gurus and popularized yoga worldwide. Indra Devi, known as the 'First Lady of Yoga', was from Latvia and took her teachings across the world including China, Argentina, Russia and the US. She was also famous among Hollywood celebrities. Yoga guru Pattabhi Jois had followers across the world including Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting.

On September 27, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the proposal of establishing International Yoga Day during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly. He said, "Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach 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 draft was supported by 175 member states. This year, the theme of Yoga day is 'Yoga for Humanity'.

The origin of yoga goes way back to ancient India and is also mentioned in Rigveda. Yoga is indeed a valuable gift from India to the world. as people across the world are moving towards achieving a healthy lifestyle. a person can achieve a happy soul, a fresh mind, and a healthy body with yoga.

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