Ranchi: Yoga, the ancient discipline of India, known for its rejuvenation of body and soul, has developed a wide international appeal in the past decade or so.
As the first step towards its recognition of its international status, the United Nations decided to celebrate June 21 as the International Yoga Day in 2015. Interestingly, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the date of summer solstice (longest day of the year) for commemorating the ancient practise intrinsically linked to the sun.
India has been at the forefront of celebrating the International Yoga Day since then.
Prime Minister Narendera Modi performed yoga along with around 30,000 people in Ranchi on Friday on the occasion of the fifth International Yoga Day.
The session continued for around 45 minutes at the Prabhat Tara ground here. The Prime Minister first addressed the participants before the session began.
"Yoga has always been associated with peace and harmony. I thank people for adopting Yoga. I urge people to embrace it," Modi said in his address prior to the session.
He also spoke in English for a few minutes to reach out to the global audience.
Saying "Yoga is beyond caste, religion, region and any boundaries", the Prime Minister added "there is a solution to alcoholism and diabetes in Yoga".
"This year, Yoga's theme is Heart Care. There has been a manifold increase in the heart-related problems in the country, particularly among the young generation. Yoga should be adopted as preventive measure," the Prime Minister added.
The session was conducted by M. Baswa Reddy, director of the New Delhi-based Morarji Desai National Yoga Institute.
Different forms of yoga postures, including how to control blood pressure and strike metal peace, were performed.
After the session was over, the Prime Minister spent time with the participants, where children and youth even clicked selfies and shook hands with Modi.
"IT was a great moment for us to see our prime Minister from nearby," said a participant.
Echoing her view, another woman said: "I could not shake hand with the Prime Minister but his aura was enough."
Modi was accompanied by Jharkhand Governor Draupdi Murmu, Chief Minister Raghubar das, Ayush Minister Sripad Naik, state Health Minister Ramchandra Kesari, along with other senior government officials.
International Yoga Day is celebrated annually since its inception by Modi in 2015.
Motu and Patlu performs yoga with Modi
Iconic cartoon characters Motu and Patlu also performed yoga with Prime Minister Narendra here on the occasion of the fifth International Yoga Day.
The characters were in the middle of the Prabhat Tara ground comprising of 30,000 people.
"The Motu and Patlu characters were present in the ground to attract children towards yoga," the Jharkhand government said in a statement.
Capital city makes a mark with Khadi mats
Thousands of people across the national capital celebrated the fifth International Yoga Day on Friday, by participating in various events to mark the day.
Some 18,000 individuals took part in an event organised in Rajpath where they performed yoga. The participants included Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The New Delhi Municipal Council estimated the number of participants to be even more than 18,000.
It is for the first time that the event did not use plastic yoga mats as they were replaced with Khadi mats.
President Ram Nath Kovind, who took part in an indoor event in Parliament, said in a tweet: "On #InternationalDayofYoga best wishes to all practitioners of yoga across the world. Yoga is India's gift to humanity; it holds the key to healthy living and to that fine balance between mind and body. Do become a part of the celebration of yoga."
In another event organised by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Union Minister Piyush Goyal and MP Manoj Tiwari along with several other hundred participants performed yoga at the Talkatora Stadium.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Smriti Irani posted pictures of her doing yoga with other participants at an event in Bijwasan.
"Celebrated #YogaDay2019 by performing Yoga with citizens of Bijwasan in Delhi," she captioned the image.
Newly-appointed Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla participated in an event in Parliament premises.
The Delhi Police also marked the day at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex, where the chief guest was Amulya Patnaik, the Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
Yogi leads yoga in Lucknow
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led the International Yoga Day event along with ministers, officials and others at the Raj Bhawan, here on Friday.
Adityanath said: "We are carrying forward the tradition set up seers and saints for whom Yoga was a part of life. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken Yoga to a global platform and I express my gratitude to him for this. Yoga is the best way to keep illness at bay."
He later performed yoga at Raj Bhawan along with other participants.
In Lucknow alone, yoga camps were organised at 11 places, under the guidance of yoga trainers.
In Saharanpur, Army jawans performed yoga on horseback which became a major attraction.
All ministers and legislators led yoga camps in their respective constituencies on Friday.
Thousands perform yoga in Punjab, Haryana
Chandigarh: Tens of thousands of people participated in fifth International Yoga Day events organised across Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana on Friday.
In Chandigarh, the main event was held at the Sector 17 Plaza where scores of people performed yogasanas. Punjab Governor and Union Territory Administrator V.P. Singh Badnore joined the function.
In Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar led hundreds of people in the main event at Rohtak town, where Union Home Minister Amit Shah also participated.
Ministers of the Haryana government attended the functions at other district headquarters.
In Punjab, which has a Congress government, functions were held in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Bathinda towns.
Chandigarh was the main venue of the second International Yoga Day event in 2016 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading thousands of enthusiasts in the main event held at the city's iconic Capitol Complex.