Two Global Days in June Celebrate Health: Wellness Day & the U.N.’s International Day of Yoga

Belgin AskoyColleague Danny Friedland, MD, the chair of the U.S.-based but global-intended Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM), sent a note on June 13, 2015 from Istanbul, Turkey to his friends and colleagues: “I’m watching the sun rise over the Bosphorus thinking of you. In a short few hours I’ll be presenting the keynote for Global Wellness Day, a gathering that been described as the largest global celebration of wellness with over 70 countries on 5 continents celebrating today.” The day is celebrated every second Saturday of June. According to the site linked above from the Global Wellness Institute, a promoter of the event, Turkish spa owner and wellness advocate Belgin Askoy (pictured), the founder of Global Wellness Day, was the 2015 chair. Here is their site.

Yoga DayJune received a second wellness boost on December 11, 2014 when the United Nations declared the Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice, June 21, the International Day of Yoga. The first such day of celebration is nearly upon us. The day has its own website. Among the comments of U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon on the decision, on which the international community agreed in record time: “Yoga can bring communities together in an inclusive manner that generates respect.”

Comment: I see the value in these marketing initiatives, and especially for health. We take for granted in the United States that each year we should devote two of our most significant weekend holidays to war and work: Memorial Day (last Monday of May) and Labor Day (first Monday of September). Nice to insert wellness and yoga between war and work. Now that the practice of the Sabbath or some form of weekly stoppage of our lives seems to have largely disappeared with the advent of fast food, plastics and the 24/7 mini-mart some 60 years ago, we are especially served to call our attention back to balance through these ritual wellness days.

A brief glimpse at the make-up of the members of the Global Wellness Day quickly opens reflection on a strategy to broaden the base of that day’s movement. Most of the leaders are presently spa industry, even as the Global Wellness Institute was the Global Spa Institute. The next constituency – to expand the model of businesses with an aligned promotional interest – might be to connect with those interests that benefit when we get out into nature. Most of us can benefit from a walk in the park.  Or, of course, from simply devoting 10-15 minutes a day to one prolonged, and personally amended, Sun Salutation, the present writer’s practice. How will I honor the day on the 21st? (Disclosure: I am not only a minor user of a Yoga practice, I also serve on the Board of AIHM.)

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