Since its inception in 2015, people from all over the world have been rolling out their yoga mats on 21 June to celebrate International Yoga Day. Unlike some of the other "days" like National Hot Dog Day or Respect Your Cat Day, International Yoga Day was sanctioned by the United Nations.
Why? Because yoga is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle, which in turn is an important goal for worldwide development.
While world harmony might be the wider goal, doing a special yoga practice (perhaps with a nice long shavasana!) is what the day is all about. You don’t have to be celebrating from an ashram in India - there are also events happening in Australia!
Check out the best places below to twist and bend your body on International Yoga Day.
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Each year, cities across Australia celebrate through holding the annual Yoga Day Festival. With locations spanning across Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin, Perth, Melbourne and Gold Coast, over 5,000 people attend this event nationwide. Each event is different, held at indoor or outdoor locations with a mix of different types of yoga.
Local teachers take guided meditations, relaxation sessions and even have leading kirtan bands perform sacred music. Being an all-inclusive event, you'll be able to find a friend or meet a new one!
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For a glorious 3-day festival, join hundreds of others at the World Yoga Festival for meditation, music and of course, yoga, in the grounds of Child Beale Trust near Reading, UK. With sessions led by prominent yoga and meditation teachers, this is the perfect British event to gather your friends and family for a few days of yoga-induced bliss. Events will be running all day and you won't be bored between yoga sessions with all the live music shows, markets and food stalls on offer. Just cross your fingers for some sunshine!
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Away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, Pokhara is another laid back gem in the foothills of the Himalayas on the Nepalese side. Situated lakeside with truly spectacular views of the mountain range, you won’t have any problem finding a beautiful spot to unroll your mat here. Choose from week-long retreats or pay-as-you-go yoga classes, and if you’re looking for a little more adventure than the gentle flow of vinyasa, there is some of the world’s best trekking at your doorstep. Yoga in the morning and trekking in the afternoon? The perfect way to spend International Yoga Day.
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Ubud is the epicentre of all things health and wellbeing, and gorgeous yoga studios are a dime a dozen. Choose between doing your yoga practice in the green rice terraces, in a wooden-floored studio overlooking the jungle, or make the trek down to the coast for the day and salute the sun as the waves gently wash up onto the shore. Whatever your dream yoga scenario is, you can probably find it in Ubud.
For the very best yoga teaching and classroom settings in Ubud, head to the Yogabarn. This lush retreat is one of the largest retreat centres in Southeast Asia, and you’ll find a number of inspiring, healing and renewing programs here.
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Hailed as the birthplace of yoga, Rishikesh is a city in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India. This little Indian city was put on the map by the Beatles in the 60’s but today it’s renown as the "Yoga Capital of the World". With more ashrams, retreats and yoga studios than any other location in India, there couldn’t be a more appropriate place to celebrate International Yoga Day.
You won’t have any trouble finding yoga-loving kindred spirits here, and if you’re bringing along someone who isn’t into yoga, Rishikesh is also a popular base to go hiking in the Himalayas, or white water rafting along the mighty Ganges.
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Each year, Auckland hosts International Yoga Day with a full day of festivities. These include traditional vinyasa flow classes, followed by using food as prayer where you are treated to a wholesome Indian meal.
The event changes each year, so make sure to stay up to date with where it is located! It is a full day festival, so there is plenty of time to unload your stress and stretch your body out.
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No matter where you are, even if you’re just at your favourite local yoga studio, International Yoga Day is the perfect day to celebrate your health and wellbeing. Namaste!