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UNESCO includes Yoga in Intangible Cultural Heritage list

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has formally inscribed Yoga in its representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Decision in this regard was taken by the Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The declaration describes Yoga, an ancient Indian practice as a Human Treasure. It was unanimously supported by all the 24 members of inter-governmental Committee.

Other new inscriptions added in the list are Rumba dance (Cuba), Belgian beer (Belgium), Almezmar (Saudi Arabia), Kuresi  (Kazakhstan) and Khidr Elias feast (Iraq), Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals (Japan), Momoeria, New Year’s celebration (Greece), practice of organizing shared interests in cooperatives (Germany),Making and sharing flatbread (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan), Culture of Jeju Haenyeo (South Korea), Gada system (Ethiopia),Tahteeb, stick game (Egypt), Music and dance of the merengue (Dominican Republic), Valencia Fallas festivity (Spain), Solar Term(China), Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh(Bangladesh).

Background

The proposal for inclusion of Yoga in this list was forwarded by the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) immediately after the first International Yoga Day was on 21st June 2016. The dossier in this regard was forwarded by MEA through the Sangeet Natak Akademi. India’s proposal for nominating Yoga had stressed upon its pan-Indian and global expanse, health benefits and practised by people from all communities.

About UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • The UNESCO’s coveted list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.
  • It was established in 2008 after Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2003 came into effect.
  • It compiles two lists viz. Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
  • Now, the list includes 814 cultural sites, 203 natural and 35 with both cultural and natural qualities.
List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity from India
  • Koodiyattam: Sanskrit Theatre of Kerala.
  • Mudiyett: theatre ritual of Kerala.
  • Tradition of Vedic Chanting.
  • Kalbelia: folk songs and dances of Rajasthan.
  • Ramlila: Traditional Performance of the Ramayana.
  • Sankirtana: singing, drumming and dancing ritual of Manipur.
  • Ramman: religious festival and ritual theatre of Garhwal Himalayas.
  • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil of Thatheras: Punjab.
  • Chhau dance: classical Indian dance originated in the eastern Indian states.
  • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Yoga guru TKV Desikachar passes away

Renowned Yoga Guru TKV Desikachar passed away following a brief illness in Chennai. He was 78.

He was known for transforming the way of practising yoga. He had turned it into both a wellness concept and a therapy.

About TKV Desikachar

  • Desikachar was son of T Krishnamacharya who is popularly acknowledged as the father of modern yoga.
  • Before learning yoga from his father, he was dabbled with engineering. He had helped others with tailor-made yoga programmes which he called Viniyoga.
  • He had taught Yoga to famous philosopher J Krishnamurti in January 1966. He had founded Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram where about 1000 students visit every month to learn yoga.

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21 June: International Day of Yoga

Every year 21 June is being observed as International Day of Yoga (अंतर्राष्ट्रीय योग दिवस) across the globe to spread awareness about practicing yoga.

2016 Theme: “Connect the Youth”.

The year 2016 it is second edition of the International Day of Yoga.  This year’s observance seeks to highlight the important role healthy living plays in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by all 193 UN member states in 2015.

To mark the day, several events were organised across the world to highlight the importance of Yoga. In India, Union Government had organised National Event of Mass Yoga Demonstration at the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh. In this event Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had performed yoga.

Background

  • The idea of celebrating the International Yoga Day was pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014.
  • In December 2014, UNGA had unanimously adopted India-led resolution to observe 21st June as ‘International Day of Yoga’.
  • This resolution was adopted under the agenda of ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy’.
  • 21st June was selected because it represents summer solstice (one of the two solstices) and it is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere which has special significance in many parts of the world.

About Yoga

  • Yoga is a physical, mental or spiritual practice attributed mostly to India.
  • The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit language which means to unite or to join, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
  • Maharishi Patanjali is considered as the ‘father of Yoga’. He had compiled 195 Yoga Sutras which had become the foundation of Yoga philosophy.
  • The commentary on these sutras is called Bhasya and the core essence of Patanjali’s yoga philosophy is the eightfold path of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) that focusses upon healthy living through Yoga.
  • It has been attributed that Yoga balances body and soul, mental and physical well-being. It promotes harmony among people and between ourselves and the natural world.

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