An Estimated Million Celebrated International Yoga Day…Did You? Here’s A Recap

This post originally appeared in YogaDork on June 22, 2015.

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Here it is…it happened. The very first International Yoga Day. While the world participated in the official day of global yoga celebrations (or in some cases organized protests) we have to wonder, dear readers, if/what/how did you celebrate?

International Yoga Day was June 21, which was also the Summer Solstice so you might have already had plans to celebrate with a ritual of sun salutations or an annual pilgrimage to Times Square. In the U.S., the event also shared the date with Father’s Day this year so there was something, or someone, else to celebrate, too.

Here’s how the world went about making their mark on World Yoga Day. Just a little million people practicing yoga around the world recap.

There were organized events in just about every major city across the globe and some in between. In Taipei, over 2,000 people practiced 108 sun salutations. In Dubai, a man held his headstand for 61 minutes, likely adding to the Yoga Day Guinness World Records.

Hundreds gathered at the Eiffel Tower in Paris for practice on color-coordinated yellow mats.

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Korean yogis came together for a public event in Seoul.

image credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

In NYC, an estimated 13,000 yogis practiced throughout the day in Times Square. The all-day event, indubitably sponsored by Athleta, drew yogis of all ages, shapes, sizes, and experience. A live webcast served the yogis at home with a dose of “mind over madness” and a glimpse into the solstice practice, which was accentuated by a few interesting soundtrack choices — did anyone else catch the odd “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” by Jamie XX during the morning session? Google the lyrics. It wasn’t the G-rated version, we can confirm that much.

image credit: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

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Rajashree Choudhury was on hand for the Bikram Yoga portion despite being connected with her husband’s rape cases.

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Midway through the day, just after being a part of a special ceremony and practice at the United Nations, India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and the Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar joined Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins to share a few words.

In the face of “ignorance and hatred,” we can “reflect and call for the spiritual wisdom and spiritual love that is found in yoga,” Gabbard said.

solstice-times-square-ravi-shankar-tulsi-gabbard

Earlier, the crew had appeared at the United Nations HQ where even Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined in the yoga session.

And of course, in India, a massive potential World Record-making yoga demonstration involving a purported 35,000 people from school children to the members of the government joined in the practice as part of a campaign costing somewhere from $5 million to more than $15 million, according to local news reports.

First International Day of Yoga

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Children in Bangalore with Modi and Yoga Day logo painted on their faces. | image credit: Aijaz Rahi/AP

There was so much yoga in India, that it literally took flight. SpiceJet, a regional budget airline, held 15 minute in-flight yoga sessions for about 25 flights  led by the cabin crew who also handed out pamphlets and CDs with more information on the benefits of yoga.

That’s just a sample of yoga, yoga everywhere day, which shaped up to be an interesting one at that.

It’s all pretty spectacular looking, but that may just be what it seems on the surface, or what some of us might want it to be. But there are political and cultural woes surrounding Prime Minister Modi’s big yoga push. This wouldn’t truly be a balanced roundup without sharing articles that highlight the unrest that this day of awareness and peace was/is supposed to instill.

If you’re looking for more photos, Time.com has a few more shots of the Yoga Day events around the world.

Until next year, yogsters…

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