It is no coincidence that the International Yoga Day falls on the same day as the Summer Solstice.

June 21st is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere when the sun appears to stand still, a perfect opportunity to find “stillness” in our lives through the practice of Yoga.

The Sun is a powerful symbol of Light, of Energy and of Consciousness. Yoga is the practice of connecting with the Light, the Energy, and the Consciousness within us. Consider the movements within a Sun Salutation sequence. We salute the Light of the sun and within us, and as we fold forward we draw consciousness inward, and as we place our hands on the ground, we salute the Energy of the Earth and our bodies.

Recognizing its appeal and health benefits, the United Nations proclaimed this day of Yoga to increase awareness of yoga’s benefits for healthy body, mind and spirit.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

— Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly

Yoga continues to grow in popularity. It is now practiced by over 36 million Americans (up from 20 million four years ago). Of those Americans who don’t practice yoga, 34% of them say they would like to try yoga for the first time over the next 12 months.

Prime Minister  will participate and lead over 50,000 participants in a  practice in Dehradun,India.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi participates in the mass yoga demonstration at Rajpath on the occasion of International Yoga Day, in New Delhi on June 21, 2015.

Right here in NYC, I was fortunate to practice among thousands of New Yorkers in Times Square, in Celebration of the Summer Solstice and The 16th annual “Mind Over Madness Yoga” event. 

times square solstice

How will you celebrate Yoga Day? Maybe, you’ve never done yoga before and are curious – well, there are numerous studios and athletic stores such as Lululemon, around the country offering free classes.

Whatever this day brings for you, live it mindfully and breathe. This is Yoga.