May 21, 2021
The United Nations International Day of Yoga is held annually on the 21st June, to tie in with the Summer Solstice. This year the theme is Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family and aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga. The theme focusses on encouraging people to stay motivated at home and how Yoga can be used to help with both our physical and mental wellbeing.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. It is practiced in various forms around the world by all ages and continues to grow in popularity.
Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. The resolution was first introduced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said:
Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our wellbeing. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.
Yoga and Mindfulness are two units that feature in Striver, our PE and wellbeing platform. While students are at home and school having a mix of online and blended learning, Yoga and mindfulness are great ways to promote positive mental health and they can be done indoors without any fancy equipment. We are giving schools free access to all our Yoga and mindfulness resources. The sessions are perfect for families and bubbles within school to do together to help everyone stay calm and relaxed.
We have also put together a Yoga playlist on our YouTube channel that gives a short overview of all the Yoga positions included in the resource pack and is great for teachers to use to demonstrate a range of Yoga positions.
But yoga is more than a physical activity. In the words of one of its most famous practitioners, the late B. K. S. Iyengar, “Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”
Alongside our Yoga resources, you will also have our mindfulness sessions. Pupils will be introduced to the vocabulary of mindfulness and practice a variety of mindfulness techniques. They will explore their own breathing, the sounds around them, tough through barefoot walking, visualisations, and the use of focus objects. The lessons aim to introduce techniques to enable pupils to shift their own attention to different aspects of their environment and reflect upon feelings in their own bodies and minds. There are sessions for Years 1- Year 6 and the pack can be downloaded here.