The United Nations has declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. It is Sadhguru’s vision to make this day into a major offering of yoga and a possibility for people of all age groups, religions, nationalities and social backgrounds to experience meditativeness, expanding their perception of life from individuality to universality.

As a part of making this vision a reality, many activities will unfold over the next couple of weeks leading up to Yoga Day. Here’s a sample of what’s to come in the crazy days ahead!

Upa-Yoga For Students

Student suicides have become frighteningly common in the last decade or two. Over 1700 children under the age of 14 committed suicide in 2014, and the trend only seems to be rising. However, imparting the right kind of yoga practices to students can play an important role in reversing this situation. With this intention, in the weeks leading up to International Yoga Day, Isha Foundation has been gearing up to offer upa-yoga classes to 15 million students in 25,000 schools across India. These classes will continue after Yoga Day too, and will take place throughout the year, ensuring that students are equipped to handle the process of education joyfully and peacefully.

To execute this plan, 45,600 school teachers are undergoing training to teach these simple, 5-minute practices for inner wellbeing. A few highlights of the initiative include:

  • Rajasthan, where a special effort is underway at the coaching institutes at Kota, where student suicides have reached alarming proportions. With the support of the institute staff and the government, 150,000 students will be learning upa-yoga.
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (Central Govt. Schools), for whom Isha will conduct yoga sessions at the nation-wide teacher training establishments. Over 5000 teachers will go through the training.
  • Maharashtra, where Physical Education teachers of all Brihanmumbai (Greater Mumbai) Municipal Corporation schools will go through the upa-yoga teacher training on June 16. These teachers will in turn train 2000 teachers and non-teaching staff in 17 locations, who will teach 57,000 students from 260 schools.
  • Uttar Pradesh, where Isha has trained school teachers in 140 Government schools. These teachers are offering yoga to 140,000 students.
  • Chennai, where 4500 volunteers have been trained to conduct session in all corporation schools, and at coaching centres, academies, colleges and universities. 300,000 people are expected to benefit from these sessions by June 30.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, where similar efforts are underway. Updates coming soon!

Students Become Teachers

Students are learning upa-yoga, and some are training to teach it as well. Through April and May, 25,000 visitors to the Isha Yoga Center benefitted from upa-yoga sessions conducted by 150 Isha Vidhya rural school students. The youngest upa-yoga trainer is 11-year-old Khushi in Chandigarh, who is facilitating classes for children in Snehalaya, Chandigarh. Mr Satish Verma, Snehalaya’s in-charge, says that the upa-yoga practices will be made an essential part of the children’s daily routine.

What is Upa-Yoga?

Sadhguru: Something that large segments of the world – even those who are involved in yoga – are not aware of is that there is a possibility of doing what is called Upa-Yoga. This is something that gives you physical and psychological benefits but doesn’t touch the spiritual dimension.

Upa-Yoga does not demand that level of commitment nor does it cause any problem if you do it improperly because you can’t do it improperly – it’s very simple!

Yoga itself is not an exercise form. It is a much subtler dimension. It is a technology through which a dimension beyond the physical becomes a living reality within you. Yoga is that which renders you to a higher possibility in your life. If something has the power to transform, it has the power to cause damage if mishandled. So yoga needs to be handled in an extremely committed atmosphere. But Upa-Yoga does not demand that level of commitment nor does it cause any problem if you do it improperly because you can’t do it improperly – it’s very simple!

In Indian vernacular languages, the word upayoga, has come to mean something useful, but actually it means sub-yoga or pre-yoga. This can be learnt in five minutes. You can practice it anywhere and the benefits are quite immense – you will be physically better and mentally limbered up. Plus, you don’t need any equipment.

Benefits of Upa-Yoga

  • Exercises muscles and lubricates joints, stimulating the system for action
  • Improves neuronal regeneration, memory and sharpness
  • Reduces sleep and activates the spine
  • Brings a deep sense of peacefulness, infusing a new sense of energy and wellbeing

Sadhguru at the UN on Yoga Day

The permanent mission of India to the United Nations is organizing a special event on June 20 and 21 at the UN headquarters in New York. The theme of the event is “Yoga for the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).” Sadhguru will be conducting a yoga session as part of this event. He is also one of the main speakers at a special panel event comprising prominent personalities and invited guests. Sadhguru will be speaking about how yoga can play an integral role in achieving the SDGs.

The SDGs are 17 goals adopted by all countries to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people. How can yoga help? Stay tuned to find out!

International Yoga Day in Tamil Nadu

Sadhguru launched the “International Day of Yoga Teacher Training for Tamil Nadu”, on June 5 at YMCA grounds, Chennai, where over 4500 people were trained to teach the practices. A total of 11,500 volunteers have been trained to conduct these upa-yoga sessions in Tamil Nadu. Sessions will take place on June 21 in 6000 schools, colleges, govt. medical colleges, prisons, universities, NGOs, and offices in the state. A special effort is also underway to train Physical Education teachers in Tirupur, Erode, Villupuram, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Salem, Trichy, Kanchipuram, Cuddalore, Theni and Nagarkoil districts, as well as in Puduchery.

International Yoga Day Around the World

Upa-yoga sessions are taking place in 6 continents and over 80 countries, including India’s neighbours – Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Lebanon, South Korea and China, as well as Australia and countries in North America, Europe and Africa. A large number of trainers are being prepared to conduct sessions in 50,000 locations across USA.

Ministry of AYUSH Partnership

The Ministry of AYUSH has partnered with Isha Foundation for planning, strategizing and implementation of various activities, in the run-up to the International Day of Yoga 2016.

Hatha Yoga Program

The Isha Yoga Center in India also hosted an 8-day Hatha Yoga program for over 2000 participants from 39 countries. The program was offered in English with live translation in 6 languages – Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Chinese, Russian and French. Participants were taught upa-yoga, Surya Kriya and yogasanas.

You Too!

On the occasion of International Day of Yoga, Isha Foundation welcomes you to attend or organize free workshops in your city. These 90-minute workshops will guide you through a set of upa-yoga practices customized for health, peace, joy, love, success and more. All upa-yoga practices are available for free, and can also be learnt online or through our app. Anyone over 7 years of age can do these practices.