In September 2014 during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi submitted a resolution to launch International Yoga Day.
In December of the same year, the 193-member UNGA agreed to the proposal with a record consensus of 177 countries sponsoring the resolution, a level of support unprecedented in the field of cultural activities.
History was made, and 21 June was declared the International Day of Yoga (IDY).
Soon afterwards, the UN released the Common Yoga Protocol, a small booklet providing a brief overview of yoga and yogic practices.
For the past two years, yoga has been celebrated across the world on the same day, a first for the ancient art.
During that time, two new Guinness records were achieved: the largest number of yoga participants practicing at the same time (almost 36,000); and the largest number of different nationalities participating at the same time (84 nationalities).
To mark IDY this year, the Embassy of India will be organizing a special event on the 21st at the famous Barron Palace in Heliopolis. Ms. Sawar El Naggar, the popular singer and Egyptian actress will be the chief Guest at the event
Celebrations will extend to other governorates as well: at the beachfront of Sheraton Montazah Hotel in Alexandria on 22 June , where Ms. Nour El Sherbini, the number one Squash Player in the world and Egypt will be the guest of the event, and the celebration will extend also to Ismailiya, on 24 June
Ahead of the third IDY, which takes place on Wednesday, the Indian embassy has organized several comptetitions, in cluding a Yoga Championship, a Yoga Quiz and a Yoga Photography Contest. The winners of will be announced at the celebrations on Wednesday.
On Sunday, the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture in Cairo held a round-table discussion on yoga in Egypt. The discussion was moderated by Neha Singh from the Indian embassy, with the panel consisting of: yoga instructor Hala Barakat; health and fitness specialist Ahmed Shaaban; Riju Trivedi, a teacher at the British School in Cairo; and Nawal Mostafa, senior writer at Al-Akhbar.
The discussion covered the concept of yoga as the union of body, soul and mind, as well as its 5,000 years of history. Panel members reflected on yoga's deep roots in Indian culture and its current speading to new cultures and nations, including Egypt.
This spread, they agreed, was due in part to growing interest in yoga's contribution to a healthy lifestyle, harmonizing body, mind and spirit and promoting a holistic approach towards health and well-being.
Panel members shared their own, rather varied, experiences of yoga. Shaaban identified yoga's contribution to managing anger and removing inner conflicts, helping people to improve their world and one's surroundings through acceptance rather than rejection.
Trivedi elaborated on the idea of introducing yoga to younger children and students to help with restlessness and improve focus and attitude.
Hala Barakat briefly highlighted the eight steps of yoga, each step following from the previous one. She further explained that their implementation needs patience and consistency, leading to the final result: a state of calm and happiness.
Indian Ambassador Sanjay Bhattacharyya, who was present at the roundtable event, thanked the Egyptian authorities for supporting the event.
He added that the practice of yoga during Ramadan showed the unity of purpose in humanity and the shared objectives of prayer and meditation, both for the individual and for peace and harmony within the society.