From politicians to fitness enthusiast and army personnel, hundreds of Indians practiced Yoga today (June 21) at gatherings organised across the country.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, a yoga enthusiast himself, led a mega event in Ranchi, Jharkhand, to celebrate the fifth edition of International Day of Yoga. “I want to make Yoga part of (the) lives of all the poor people… Diseases make a poor person poorer; I want to take Yoga from cities to the villages, to the jungles, to the poor and the adivasis (tribals),” Modi said while addressing a crowd of about 30,000 people at the Yoga day event.
In 2015, when it was first observed, over 35,000 people, including Modi, and dignitaries from 84 nations, performed 21 asanas (bodily postures) for 35 minutes on Rajpath in New Delhi. Last year, Modi was in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, for the occasion.
Here are some scenes from Yoga Day 2019 celebrations in India:
The discipline of Yoga is based on breath control, meditation, and asanas, and its roots are traced to the Indus Valley civilisation. It was first introduced to the west by Hindu reformer Swami Vivekananda towards the end of the 19th century.
Since then, yoga has evolved into many forms. Wheels, hammocks, and bricks are among the many props used in its practice. Over two decades ago, Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, launched the first laughter yoga club and the phenomenon has since spread across the world. There are also some outlandish versions like goat yoga or beer yoga.
Preparations for this year’s Yoga Day celebrations had started days ahead at schools and offices in India and at Indian embassies around the world.