From Afganistan to Australia, China, Canada to the United States, yogis of all ages stretched their limbs in celebration of the second annual International Yoga Day on June 21, 2016, honoring the ancient Hindu practice. In India, the yoga practitioners officially participated in a mass yoga session to mark the International Yoga Day at Capitol complex in Chandigarh.
Indian PM Modi participated in the mass Yoga Day demonstration in Chandigarh as International Yoga Day marks annual worldwide celebration of physical, mental and spiritual practice. He performed Yoga with over 30,000 participants in Chandigarh, in a mass demonstration of ‘Common Yoga Protocol’ and the worldwide celebrations ensue. Similar celebrations were also observed throughout the Indian cities and towns, also including the rural parts.
A yoga enthusiast himself, the Indian PM performed several yoga ‘asanas’ along with the people at the event. He pitched for treating diseases such as the diabetes through the ancient spiritual discipline. Wearing a white T-shirt and track pants, he proclaimed the 5,000 year-old Indian tradition to be the ‘biggest mass movement in the world’.
The Prime Minister said that the International Day of Yoga is a day linked to good health, and it has become a mass movement. He said that Yoga is not about what one will get, but it is about what one can give up. The PM emphasized that with zero budgets, Yoga provides health assurance, and does not even discriminate between rich and poor.
The Prime Minister also called for focus in the next one year, on how to mitigate diabetes through Yoga. He said that to honour those who are working to popularize Yoga, two awards will be instituted, one at the national level, and the other at the international level.
In Delhi, visually-impaired children put the icing on cake, when a group of blind children from Karnataka showcased yoga and wowed the audience. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee too became part of a Yoga class at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, his residence-cum-office located in the capital city of Delhi. Also in Delhi, diplomats, along with their children, from 40 countries including Afghanistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Mexico, Ghana, Belgium, Singapore, China and others participated in the event and said yoga is a popular exercise across the globe.
World also joined hands with India in keeping the tradition alive which the yoga enthusiasts believe is just not a physical exercise but a more fulfilling way of living. Australia witnessed a mass gathering of people performing yoga in front of the Sydney Opera House. United Nations building was lit with yoga pose honoring the day internationally. Similar large scale celebrations were also seen in the terror-hit country Afghanistan.
In China, spectacular views were observed where people gathered in large number on the outskirts of Beijing city to practice yoga.
“Practicing yoga can help raise awareness of our role as consumers of the planet’s resources and as individuals with a duty to respect and live in peace with our neighbours”, said Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General.
In 2014, The United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st the International Day of Yoga following a call from PM Modi during his address to the UN General Assembly. Interestingly, June 21, is also the longest day of any year.