Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual practice that originated in India and is now practiced in various forms around the world. It finds mention in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the father of Yoga.
Yoga, like any other science, is constantly evolving. It is now practised across the globe by millions and millions of people. The benefits of Yoga can be seen in all walks of life be it health promotion, disease prevention, education, sports, management of lifestyle, etc.
On the occasion of third edition of International Day of Yoga, let's have a glance on all the projects and initiatives launched by Union Government to promote Yoga worldwide.
Proclamation of 21 June as International Day of Yoga
The United Nations (UN) on 11 December 2014 proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by its resolution 69/131 with an aim to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga. Prime Minister Narendra Modi played a key role in having this United Nations proclamation.
Web Portal for International Day of Yoga launched
The Union Government launched the new website for International Day of Yoga (IDY). This web portal provides all the updated and relevant information relating to International Day of Yoga.
It has a social wall where all the social media interactive platform is available for the visitors to keep track on the discussions and participate in them. The portal is also linked to the important web pages such as Swachh Bharat, Make in India, etc.
After the institution of the International Day of Yoga, the Ministry of AYUSH launched an open contest for Yoga Song or Yog Geet in Hindi Language. The best entry was rewarded a cash prize of Rs 500000.
The Yog Geet (song) was eventually released in June 2016. The song is of 3 minutes and 15 seconds in Hindi language. The song is written and produced by Deeraj Saraswat and Gandhar TD Jadhav. The Music of the song is composed by Sumanto Ray.
Yoga recognised as a sports discipline by Sports Ministry
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, after reviewing categorization of various Sports disciplines, recognised Yoga as a sports discipline and placed it in the ‘Priority’ category in September 2015.
International Yoga Fest
The International Yoga Fest (IYF) is being organised by the Union Ministry of AYUSH every year since 2016. The 1st International Yoga Fest was held from 20-22 April 2016 and the second one was held from 8 March to 9 March 2017.
The Fest works as a curtain raiser for International Day of Yoga to sensitize the masses regarding celebration of Yoga.
National Health Editor’s conference on “Yoga for Holistic Health – Recent Researches"
The conference on “Yoga for Holistic Health – Recent Researches” was organized by the Ministry of AYUSH in association with Press Information Bureau.
Eminent experts from diverse fields presented recent researches in the field of Yoga demonstrating its advantages in attaining holistic health.
Committee on Yoga Education in Universities
In order to promote Yoga as a part of education, the Union Government decided to introduce Yoga Education in Universities.
For the same purpose, the government constituted a Committee on Yoga Education in Universities to identify the courses and programs in Yogic Arts and Science and the levels at which they can be offered.
Subsequently, the committee under the chairpersonship of Prof HR Nagendra recommended seven programmes for universities including Certificate Course in Yoga, Bachelors of Science (Yoga), Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga, Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy, Masters of Science (MSc)- Yoga, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)-Yoga, Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)- Yoga.
Yoga in School Curriculum
In order to promote Yoga as a part of school curriculum, Yoga Education was made compulsory by National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), a statutory body under Ministry of Human Resource Development, through its 15 Teacher Education Programmes.
NCTE developed modules on Yoga Education for Diploma in Elementary Education and master of Education. Over 15962 schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) were also asked to provide compulsory 40-45 minutes of Physical Activities such as Yoga to the students every day.
Yoga Olympiad involving school children from upper-Primary to secondary stages was also introduced by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
International Conference on Yoga for Diabetes
The three day International Conference on Yoga for Diabetes was held in January 2017 to generate discussions on the role of Yoga in the prevention and management of Diabetes and to draw up a roadmap to be adopted for the control of Diabetes through Yoga.
Approximately 400 delegates and 50 experts from India and abroad participated in the conference. It provided a common platform for the Allopathy and AYUSH practitioners, researchers, academicians, policy makers and students to come together in the fight against diabetes.
UNESCO inscribed Yoga in the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Yoga was inscribed in the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity during the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in December 2016.
Yoga became the 13th intangible cultural heritage that was listed from India so far with UNESCO.
'Celebrating Yoga' mobile app
Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan in June 2017 launched a mobile app “Celebrating Yoga” to popularize Yoga and encourage people to participate in it for a scientifically healthy living.
Celebrating Yoga provides a platform to share information and insights about peoples’ participation in Yoga activities on the occasion of the International Yoga Day.
Inclusion of Yoga in National Health Policy 2017
In order to leverage a proper health care legacy, the National Health Policy 2017 recommended introduction of Yoga in school and at work places as part of promotion of good health.
Measures undertaken by Ministry of AYUSH to Promote Yoga WordWide
Under Central Sector Scheme of International Cooperation (IC), the Ministry of AYUSH undertook measures for global promotion and popularization of Yoga.
The Ministry deputed Yoga experts to participate in fairs and workshops. The Ministry also provided publicity material including videos, documentaries, coffee table books, instructional manuals on the different aspects of yoga and yogic practices to Indian Missions for display and distribution.
Short term Yoga programmes included in Tourist Visa and e-Tourist Visa
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs introduced short term yoga programmes in Tourist Visa and e-Tourist Visa.
In order to promote the importance of yoga worldwide, the Union Government decided to include “attending a short term yoga programme” in the list of permissible activities under Tourist Visa and e-Tourist Visa.
Yoga Training to Rural Women under Special Programmes
In order to promote Yoga in rural and tribal areas of the country, National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN) and Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) under Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy (CCRYN) in November 2016 organised various programmes to offer yoga training to rural women.
Yoga sessions and demos were provided with simple natural foods. As a part of the program, a kit containing Naturopathy and Yoga equipments, booklets and posters were given to the participants.
Yoga Training to Defence Wing Staff
With an aim to promote Yoga and create a healthy living, Ministry of AYUSH organised a training program on Yoga for the Defence Wing Staff in April 2016.
Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) under DRDO collaborated with Department of AYUSH for organising the training programme. DIPAS also designed customized yoga packages for Air Force, Navy, high altitude, hot deserts, and Low Intensity Conflicts (LIC) environments.
International Conference on Frontiers in Yoga Research and its Applications
The International Conference on Frontiers in Yoga Research and its Applications was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Jigani, Bengaluru.
The conference was aimed at promoting Yoga as a medium for holistic lifestyle and to spread awareness about the health benefits rendered by it such as physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual harmony. The conference was also aimed at promoting Yoga as a system of Medicine.
Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals
The Ministry of AYUSH does not appoint yoga teachers on its own. However, it facilitates the appointment of such teachers in the private and public sectors through its Scheme for Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals.
The first phase of the Scheme to certify yoga teachers was launched on 22 June 2015. The Scheme is operated by the Quality Council of India (QCI) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.