Lakhs stretch and twist on Yoga Day, PM extols yoga connects World to Inida

Wednesday, Jun 21, 2017,13:04 IST By anju A A A

Lucknow/Delhi | Lakhs of people across the country and the world bent, stretched and twisted on the third International Day of Yoga today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the celebrations in Lucknow, saying yogic asanas connected the world to India.

From Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow and colonnaded Connaught Place in Delhi to Trafalgar Square in London and Great Wall in China, the day to celebrate the traditional wellness regime that originated in India was celebrated with vim, vigour and vitality.

Dressed in a white t-shirt and trousers, Modi joined over 51,000 people at the sprawling Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan and said yoga had now become part of every person’s life.

“Many countries which do not know our language, tradition or culture are now connecting to India through yoga. The practice, which connects body, mind and soul, has played a big role in binding the world too,” he said.

Rains played a bit of a spoilsport in Lucknow and Delhi, but failed to dampen spirits with people thronging parks and public places.

In the Uttar Pradesh capital, where Modi was joined by Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the prime minister thanked people for coming out in large numbers despite the rains, saying, “Your presence here will give strength to yoga and deserves salutation.” In a series of tweets later, Modi said, “Today, Yoga has become a part of so many lives. Yoga’s popularity outside India is high & has connected the world with India.”
“I am glad to see several Yoga institutes take shape over the last three years. Demand for Yoga teachers is increasing: PM. I urge everyone to make Yoga a part of their lives,” he said.

In Delhi, nearly 77,700 people braved pre-dawn showers and gathered at venues across the city.

According to AYUSH Ministry officials, the maximum gathering of 50,000 people was at Red Fort lawns, followed by 10,000 yoga enthusiasts coming together in Connaught Place and about 9,000 at a DDA park in Rohini.

The streets of Connaught Place’s inner circle, where vehicular movement was restricted, wore a festive look as old and young dressed in colourful attire performed various asanas.

Mats were rolled out at the six radial roads of the famed colonial era area as well as in Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park, Talkatora Garden and Children’s Park at India Gate under the aegis of the New Delhi Municipal Council.

Though rains in the early hours had turned mats soggy, the number of people joining the celebrations continued to build up.

Union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Vijay Goel, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with BJP’s presidential Ram Nath Kovind and senior BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi joined in in Connaught Place.

Several central government ministries also hosted events in their office premises for their employees.

While similar scenes were seen in other parts of the country too, many gathered in places across the world, including iconic landmarks like the London Eye and Trafalgar Square as well the Great Wall, to celebrate the day.

In the US, a large number of people, including from the Indian community, participated in special yoga sessions organised by the Indian Consulate in New York.

Over 1,200 yoga enthusiasts in South Africa’s Soweto township also got their first taste of yoga.

The United Nations General Assembly had made a declaration in December 2014 that every June 21 would be observed as International Day of Yoga, a move that India lobbied hard for.

The centrepiece of the first International Day of Yoga celebration in 2015 was New Delhi’s Rajpath. The event made it to the Guinness World Records with 35,985 participants performing asanas at one venue and 84 nationalities being part of it.

Last year, the main function was held in Chandigarh.