How Yoga found its way to UNESCO Heritage List

UNESCO, which also stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, a specialized agency of United Nations has added Yoga to its heritage list. UNESCO was founded in the year 1945 on 16th November. The organization has done a lot in eradicating poverty in the society, building peace among nations, and improving the quality of education for all. Recently, UNESCO decided to add the ancient practice of India ‘Yoga’ to its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

According to the World Heritage Community, the reason for adding Yoga to its list is the kind of impact it has made on Indians. Recently, the 11th session of the intergovernmental committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the decision of incorporating yoga in the list was taken in the same session. The proposal by India to include Yoga in the list was supported by all present in the session.

This list of intangible cultural heritage was created 10 years ago. The main aim of creating this list was to make people aware about the same and UNESCO has done its best so far as it has also helped a lot of countries to help them protect their heritage. UNESCO also tweeted, “Designed to help individuals build self-realisation, ease any suffering they may be experiencing and allow for a state of liberation, [yoga] is practiced by the young and old without discriminating against gender, class or religion.”

Yoga stands at number 13th in the list from India. Before that, Chhau dance was included in the year 2010, the Buddhist chanting of Ladakh was included in the year 2012, Sankirtana- the ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur was included in the year 2013, the traditional brass and copper craft utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru of Punjab was included in the year 2014 and Ramlila – the performance of the Ramayana was included in the year 2008.

Vikas Swarup, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, said, “The inscription and classification [of yoga] as a ‘human treasure’ brings immense recognition to yoga, clearing as it has rigorous criteria set out by UNESCO, the only UN body mandated to capture the intangible aspects of culture. It was on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal that the UN General Assembly had declared June 21 International Yoga Day in December 2014.”

In the list, three other additions have also been made. One was Cuba’s Rumba dance and the another one was Belgium’s beer culture and South Korea’s haenyeo women.

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