Since coming to power in 2014, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken yoga as an emblem of India's flourishing in the world, pushing for the United Nations resolution that has since 2015 consecrated June 21 as International Yoga Day.
Today, people all over the world have come to look upon yoga as something which belongs to them, Modi said. "Instead of dividing, Yoga unites". He reiterated that Yoga not only adds to the growth of the physique, it even helps keeping people away from mental illnesses.
Modi's speech set the mood for a 45-minute yoga session, awaited in much expectancy by the participants who had all been given yoga mats and informed to retain them as souvenirs of the day and hopefully to use on a regular basis. However, the main celebrations took place at the Zaabeel Park as hundreds of yoga enthusiasts gathered at the main grounds at 7pm. Yoga basically revolves around elevating the life force or "Kundalini" at the base of the spine.
The largest was in Mysore in the south with more than 60,000 aficionados strutting their stuff, organisers said.
The Indian discipline of yoga, involving spiritual and physical practices, is followed in myriad forms today by millions of people worldwide, with an entry in UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list.
Various other yoga organisations and institutes also organised separate programmes to mark the International Yoga Day. Indian Air Force personnel too practised asanas at the Air Force Station in Thanjavur.
The Prime Minister participated in the Yoga Day celebrations at Rajpath in New Delhi in 2015, the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh in 2016 and at the Ramabai Ambedkar Sabha Sthal in Lucknow in 2017.
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It featured Modi, US President Donald Trump, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un all in the lotus position.
In Singapore, a Yoga session was chaired at a nursing home for the elderly. This resurgence of interest in yoga has made it one of the world's most famous fitness regimes, whether followed hot or cold.
Yoga became known in the West towards the end of the 19th century as it was undergoing a major revival in India under the Hindu teacher Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).
Other, much smaller gatherings were scheduled around the world, including in Kilkenny in Ireland, Bahrain, Brisbane in Australia and in Milan. Actually, June 21 is the longest day in the Northern Goddard. Nor is yoga only what you practice in the morning.
"At least people are doing it".
Mr Modi said that in yoga, one has the ideal solution to the problems one face, either as individuals or in society.