For 2017, the United Nation’s (UN) International Day for Yoga emphasized the thousand-year old practice’s health benefits - achieving balance between mind and body.

On January 2015, the UN adopted June 21 as the International Yoga Day through Resolution 69/131 stating that yoga does provide a holistic approach to health and well-being and disseminating information about the practice will be beneficial for the health of world population.

The 2017 theme is “Yoga for Health” as organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations which aims to achieve equilibrium between mind and body.

“Yoga is a practice that can be relevant to all ages, relevant to all cultures, irrespective of what socio-economic status people represent. It can be used to unite our complex and difficult world to promote not only healthy lifestyles but to promote peace and security in the world,” according to Dr Nata Menabde, World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Director for New York Office.

WHO has said yoga is a physical activity and a way to manage stress, and it can be practiced by all people of all ages regardless of their socio-economic status.

“Fits in very well with the healthy lifestyle that WHO has been strongly advocating for, throughout the life cycle - from childhood to healthy ageing,” according to the UN health agency.

As a physical exercise, yoga can serve as primary preventive measure against disease such as heart diseases, diabetes, and respiratory diseases.

For this year, about 180 countries reportedly participated including New York in the US, China, France, Hungary, Singapore, Japan, and Pakistan, among others.

The American Ostheopathic Association (AOA) noted that physical benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, muscle strength, improved respiration, balanced metabolism, weight reduction, and improved athletic performance. Its mental benefits, meanwhile, include creating mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, chronic stress patterns and relaxes the mind, centers attention and sharpens concentration. MIMS

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