International Yoga Day celebrated across the globe
|Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi (C) at a mass yoga in Lucknow, marking the 3rd International Yoga Day on June 21, 2017 - AFP|
Hundreds of thousands of men, women and young people of almost every age took to the mat across the globe on Wednesday for a yoga session to mark the 3rd International Yoga Day. Rains failed to dampen the spirits of about 50,000 who joined an outdoor yoga session, June 21, with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in a park in Lucknow, capital of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
"Yoga has connected the world with India," Modi told a cheering crowd. "Yoga is about health assurance. It is not even expensive to practice," said Modi who was instrumental in getting the United Nations declare the International Yoga Day in December 2014. The first International Yoga Day was marked on June 21, 2015. The physical, mental and spiritual practice which aims to transform both body and mind, began in ancient India, and is popular throughout the globe.
The Modi's official Twitter handle, which has more than 30 million followers, has posted pictures of mass yoga sessions in China, Colombia, the United States, Paraguay, Mexico, Italy, Singapore and atop Machu Picchu, a 15th century Inca citadel in Peru. Social media was flooded with pictures of yoga, the country's signature cultural export, being performed in various places including an Indian Navy submarine and the landing deck of an aircraft carrier.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee held a yoga session at the presidential palace and several members of Modi's cabinet joined similar events across the country. Meanwhile, some hundred diplomats from various foreign missions joined a yoga session organized by the Ministry of External Affairs in the Indian capital. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and a number of high-ranking officials of the ministry were among those who attended the event.
In her brief remarks, Ms Swaraj stressed that yoga belongs not merely to India, but to the whole world and that it is a "complete system" for wellbeing and harmony "within ourselves, as well as with nature".