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Yoga has become an international festival, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday as tens of thousands of people, including ministers and commoners, across the world performed asanas and breathing exercises on the occasion of the eighth International Day of Yoga.
Yoga sessions were held in Parliament complex, stadiums, beaches, local parks and outside temples. Rains failed to dampen the spirit of those who gathered for a yoga session at Mumbai's Marine Drive.
Until a few years ago, pictures of yoga were limited to homes and spiritual centres but today they are coming from every corner of the world, Modi said, adding that this shows the excitement for International Day of Yoga among people.
"Today yoga has become an international festival. Yoga is not limited to any individual, but it is for the whole of humanity. So, this year's International Yoga Day's theme is 'Yoga for Humanity'," he said.
Yoga helps one build a sense of awareness, said the prime minister who performed asanas along with thousands of participants in Mysuru."When we become aware of ourselves and our world, we begin to spot things that need to be changed both in ourselves and in the world. They may be individual problems or global problems like climate change and international conflicts," Modi said.
Today yoga is not just a part of life but is becoming the way of life. It should not be limited to any particular time or place, he said.President Ram Nath Kovind also practised yoga at Rashtrapati Bhavan here and described the ancient wellness discipline as India's gift to humanity.
"Greetings on #InternationalDayofYoga! Yoga is a part of our ancient Indian heritage. India's gift to humanity, it is a holistic approach to health and well-being, balancing our mind, body and soul. I urge everyone to make Yoga a part of your daily life & experience its benefits," Kovind tweeted.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya joined the celebrations at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat's Kevadia and called on citizens to take a pledge to be healthy to contribute to the country's development.Underlining the benefits of yoga, Mandaviya, who performed asanas along with hundreds of participants, said the citizens of a country need to be healthy for it to become a developed nation, according to a health ministry statement.
"Yoga is not just about exercise, it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature," he said."
For a Samruddh Bharat (prosperous India), we need a Swasthya Bharat (healthy India) and for a Swasthya Bharat, we need Swasthya Nagrik (healthy national). Only a healthy national can build a developed nation," he added. In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal led the celebrations from the Thyagaraj Stadium.
Addressing participants at the event, the chief minister said he learnt yoga free of cost in Class 8 and it will be free for Delhiites too.
"Some people criticise me for (starting) free yoga classes. I learnt it (yoga) for free in Class 8, so it will be free for the people as every essential thing in life, like air, is free," he said.Kejriwal said the Delhi government's aim is to ensure that every Delhiite practices yoga daily and it is looking at teaching it in schools.
"If the habit (of practising yoga) is inculcated among children, they will be associated with it throughout their lives. It is our objective to teach yoga to children and see how it can be started in schools," he said.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman joined a yoga session at the iconic Jantar Mantar in the national capital.In Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Governor Kalraj Mishra respectively led the celebrations.
"Greetings on #InternationalDayofYoga. Participated in #YogaDay2022 along with Hon'ble Union MoS Shri @KapilPatil_ and hundreds of people at Dal Lake in Srinagar. I urged all to embrace Yoga as an integral part of life for holistic approach to health & well-being," Sinha tweeted.
"This invaluable gift to humanity is being used as a therapeutic intervention for various disorders & bringing equilibrium of body, mind and intellect," he said.
Mishra performed asanas along with officers and employees of the Raj Bhavan in Jaipur. Yoga has been integral to physical, mental and spiritual well-being since ancient times, he said.
In Nagaland, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishore, state Health and Family Welfare Minister S Pangnyu Phom, bureaucrats, security personnel and school and college students participated in the celebrations.
Describing yoga as insurance, Kishore said it helps fight various diseases including asthma, blood pressure and blood sugar, etc.Billionaire Gautam Adani and his wife Priti took part in an hour-long yoga session at a football ground at Adani Shantigram in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, according to a statement issued by the Adani Group.
Several other business leaders took to Twitter to share pictures of their yoga sessions.The Indian High Commission in London culminated its week-long International Day of Yoga celebrations with an event at BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, known as Neasden Temple.
Similarly, Indian consulates across the UK organised open-air yoga sessions.The Indian Embassy in China's Beijing organised a yoga session.Several yoga events have also been planned by the Consulate General of India in New York to mark the International Day of Yoga, including a grand commemoration at Times Square.
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