PARIS, June 21 (UPI) -- Thousands of yogis around the world held public yoga sessions to celebrate the first International Day of Yoga, established by the United Nations, on Sunday.
"By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement. "Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress."
The draft resolution to establish International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 69th session of the General Assembly. It was approved by a record 175 member states in December.
"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 well-being," Modi said. "Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature."