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Remarks by Mr. Michael Moller United Nations Under-Secretary-General & Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva on the occasion of 2nd International Day of Yoga

19 June 2016
International Day of Yoga 2016

Remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

International Day of Yoga 2016
Sunday, 19 June 2016 at 10.00 a.m.
Palais des Nations, Bar Serpent

Ambassador Kumar,
Colleagues and friends:

A warm welcome to today’s event to mark the International Day of Yoga here at the Palais des Nations. Since this is the second time that we celebrate this Day at the Palais des Nations, we might say that a new tradition has been established at the United Nations Office at Geneva and it is going to go on here at the Palais des Nations.

I would like to thank the Permanent Mission of India for organizing this event, including the joint practice. We are grateful also to India for initiating, under the leadership of H.E. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the institution of this international day. When brought forward, the draft resolution immediately received wide support by Member States, and in December 2014 the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. June 21 is, as you know, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has a special symbolism. It also stands for the beginning of summer, which many of us are keen to welcome this year.

The record endorsement of the draft declaration at the time confirmed the popularity of Yoga around the world. A unique combination of postures, breathing techniques and mediation, yoga provides a holistic fitness package that boosts health and well-being. It is well known that yoga improves physical health. Yoga techniques also help to stay well-rooted and calm – an important element in a world of increasing pressures at the work place and a heightened number of people exposed to extreme stress in conflict or disaster zones. Yoga helps to lower stress and achieve inner peace of mind. It normalizes blood pressure, strengthens immunity and enhances happiness. It also increases general energy levels and allows us to be more present in the moment and more conscious of our decisions and life choices, promoting respect for our fellow human beings and the nature that surrounds us.

Yoga, translated from Sanskrit, means ‘to join’ and ‘to unite’. What better place to practice this philosophy than at the United Nations?

Ladies and gentlemen, with this sort of “good weather” on our side on this beautiful Sunday, I wish you an enjoyable training session. Of course, the spirit of yoga needs to be practiced not only once a year, but, ideally, every day. So, I hope to see colleagues in yoga pose in the park more often. In this spirit, I wish you all a Happy International Day of Yoga.

I hope you will enjoy this morning. Namasté!