20/06/2015 4:48 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Yoga To Be Part Of Universal Healthcare: World Health Organisation

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
Indian yoga practitioners participate in a full dress rehearsal for International Yoga Day in New Delhi on June 19, 2015. The heart of India's capital will transform into a sea of colourful mats on June 21, 2015, as thousands perform the camel, cobra and other postures for the first international Yoga Day championed by Narendra Modi. AFP PHOTO/PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED NATIONS -- The World Health Organisation is closely working with centres in India and across the world to support the unique knowledge of yoga with scientific evidence and incorporate it into universal healthcare approaches, a senior official of the agency has said.

"Yoga is used in many settings in which the health challenges are being addressed and it has a very prominent place in the holistic approach through prevention and control of health disorders," Nata Menabde, Executive Director, WHO office to the UN told reporters here yesterday ahead of the International Yoga Day on June 21.

She said the "ancient vedic gift of India to the world, needs to be studied and supported by scientific evidence and then incorporated in to the approaches to universal healthcare."

She said WHO is working closely with collaborating centres in India and across the world to bring this "unique knowledge" and to support it with scientific evidence to incorporate and standardise some of the practices of yoga.

WHO is also looking to bring yoga into education of medical practitioners since it is a challenge to standardise yoga practice.

Addressing the press briefing, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Asoke Mukerji said by commemorating the Yoga Day globally, India hopes that through the "popularisation of yoga we will be able to tackle some of the biggest challenges that we face as mankind including in the area of global health."

He said an estimated two billion people across 192 nations would have participated in commemorating the first International Day of Yoga by the end of June 21.

Massive preparations are underway to commemorate the first International Day of Yoga on Sunday.

The headline event will be at the UN Headquarters where India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will be joined by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and several other diplomats.

The Secretary-General will deliver a keynote address at the event at the UN Headquarters.

Ban's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters that the UN chief "may partake in some yoga" when asked if he would also be practising some form of yoga on the international day.

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