This Friday, June 21st is an important day here in Vancouver – and across our country and world – for many reasons. Notably, it is recognized as both International Day of Yoga and Indigenous Peoples Day.

While it may seem difficult to celebrate two different events at once, through our Global Citizen Project we’ve come to discover that the two days have more in common than one may think.

Here are three key ways we can all work together to find a balance between both special days of recognition.

1) Learn About the History of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples

Canada is home to a hugely diverse population of Indigenous Peoples, including the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. National Indigenous Peoples Day offers us all a chance to learn the history of the people who first called this land home, and to celebrate the ways their unique traditions make our multicultural society so special. While each Aboriginal group has its own distinct heritage, language, spiritual beliefs and cultural practices, they do share some similarities. The summer solstice, for instance, has been celebrated for generations in many Indigenous communities, which is why June 21st has been selected as a national day of observance.

Check out this interactive map to see all of the celebrations happening across the country!

2) Discover the Origins of Yoga

So many of us practice yoga in our daily lives – it’s a great way to limber up, connect to your breath and body, and get in shape. And while there are countless interesting ways to enjoy yoga these days – such as beer or goat yoga – its origins and original purpose (union with existence, consciousness) are getting lost or diluted. More than just a great workout, yoga offers a chance to discover a deeper understanding of who we truly are. In fact, yoga comes from the Vedic Shivagama writings. It is the science of living enlightenment by awakening the extraordinary possibilities and abilities in you.

Learn more about the International Day of Yoga and how it’s been recognized around the world on the United Nations website!

3) Bring Both Histories Together!

So what do these celebrations have in common? They are all about rediscovering the origins of cultural traditions that most of us have an idea about, and perhaps even incorporate into our daily lives, without truly understanding their deeper meanings.

Rather than simply taking these important cultural traditions for our own, Indigenous Peoples Day and International Day of Yoga offer a chance to reflect on the people for whom these are deep and meaningful practices, and to thank them for the ways their ancient and spiritual traditions have enriched our lives.

Our Global Citizen Celebrations

Honouring the original cultures and intentions of the artists we work with is an important part of bringing our covers to life, so it’s a natural fit for us to learn more about tomorrow’s Yoga and Indigenous Days. Both traditions offer a chance to reflect on one’s own heritage and traditions, an important part of getting to know oneself more deeply.

As our way to give back to the world around us, Paperblanks and the broader Hartley & Marks family help support a local community organization called Bridge & Enrich Lives Society (BE), as part of our Global Citizen program. This June 21st, BE will be hosting a two-part event bringing both celebrations together – a rariety in a time when the celebrations tend to compete by sharing the same day.

We’ll be welcoming Tsitsayxemaat Rebecca Duncan of Squamish and Musqueam descent of the Coast Salish Peoples for a dedication opening ceremony, followed by a webinar from HDH Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam on the origins and authentic purposes of yoga. There will also be open discussions and a light meal/snacks.

“Yoga is not just for physical fitness and mental peace alone – it is the science of living and radiating enlightenment! ”

Visit the Bridge & Enrich website to learn more about this special day – perhaps it will inspire you to create a celebration in your own hometown!


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