Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said Yoga Day has become one of the biggest mass movements in the quest for good health and well-being across the globe.
On the occasion of the fourth International Yoga Day, the Prime Minister said the world has embraced yoga and
glimpses of this can be seen in the manner in which International Day of Yoga has been marked every year.
Mr Modi led a large number of people in performing yoga asanas at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun in Uttarakhand. He further said yoga has shown the world the path from illness to wellness. It helps in uniting people, it helps to assimilate and also heals, Mr Modi said.
The theme for Yoga Day this year is “Yoga for Peace” while in 2017, it was ‘Yoga for Harmony and Peace’.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is also on a tour to Europe, will lead the IYD celebrations at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The Prime Minister Modi, had within months of taking over in 2014, proposed that June 21 be designated by the United Nations General Assembly as International Yoga Day — which was later accepted overwhelmingly.
June 21 is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and thus has special significance in many parts of the world.
The Prime Minister said Indians should be proud of their own heritage and this will help preserve the richness of the same.
“Yoga has emerged as the most unifying force in the world today,” he said.
In his tweet, President Ram Nath Kovind said, “On the International Yoga Day greetings to all those practising yoga across the globe. Yoga is an ancient Indian tradition, but it doesn’t belong to India alone. It is part of humanity’s intangible heritage. I invite you to explore and celebrate yoga wherever you are”.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh joined Yoga enthusiasts at Raj Bhavan in Lucknow.
In a series of tweets, Mr Singh said, “Yoga is an example of our Prime Minister’s cultural diplomacy”.
“Our Prime Minister has played an important role in popularising yoga around the world,” he wrote.
He also said, “This year our government felicitated Saudi Arabia’s first ever certified female yoga instructor Ms Nouf Marawaai with Padmashree Award.
“Yoga’s popularity and acceptability is spreading around the world cutting across the continents and religious lines,” he said.
The Home Minister also said, Yoga should not be connected with any particular religion. “When India moved the resolution for International Yoga Day in the United Nations, it was supported by many Muslim member countries as well”.
In Dehradun, in the presence of Prime Minister Modi, Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul, Union Minister of state for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat were also present.
In the national capital too, various events were held. The main event at Rajpath was attended by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and others. Information and Broadcasting Minister Col Rajyavardhan Rathore participated in the Yoga session in Shahdara.
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu celebrated the occasion in Mumbai.
Reports of Yoga celebration came in from various states. In Jammu and Kashmir, the Day was celebrated at Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonwar in Srinagar.
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said yoga reflects India’s “soft power” globally.
In 2015, United Nations General Assembly unanimously announced that June 21 will be celebrated as the International day for yoga to raise awareness about the benefits of practicing yoga.
The resolution was co sponsored in the General Assembly by 177 nations, the highest ever number of co-sponsors for any UNGA resolution of this nature.