Two recent news stories caught my eye, not only because they’re about yoga but because they are examples of positive news and of potential positive changes in society.
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has created a new position of minister responsible for “Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy”. Shripad Naik, the new minister (who practises yoga every day) said “This is our system and it has not received enough prominence. We will take it to the masses.” What a wonderful idea! Whilst not dismissing other medicine, raising awareness of the benefits of other systems could help many people. (Previously this department was formerly within health, but now has its own minister as a separate portfolio – more about the possible impact in this article.)
According to one news article, the Hindu prime minister is a vegetarian who practises yoga daily. And he asked the United Nations in September to consider an international yoga day. Which is my second news story that I read recently.
He called for an international yoga day for June 21, and about 130 countries have signed up to this, including the UK and the USA (out of 193 member states). In his speech he said “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being.” Apart from the use of ‘man’ instead of human, this is an excellent sentiment. Wouldn’t it be great if world leaders took on board some yogic principles or truth, non-violence or non-stealing? Modi believes that by changing lifestyles and creating consciousness the international yoga day could help us deal with climate change.
The draft resolution is expected to be considered for adoption in the United Nation’s General Assembly in December and would recognise that “yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being.”
Although resolutions by the UN’s General Assembly may not be binding, even if some of the countries who signed up to this day carried it out, it would mean a lot more yoga and yogic thinking around the world. (Although, do we know about any of the other international days e.g. international mountain day on 11th December. I only knew a few of them.)