As night melted into the first glimmer of sunlight, all roads in New Delhi led to the majestic Rajpath area of the capital, as more than 37,000 people gathered around the venue to commemorate the first International Day of Yoga. It’s not just the capital Delhi which celebrated the power of yoga to transform one’s life, but across India and the world millions of celebrants of this ancient Indian practice of yoking body, mind and spirit joined in this collective rite, blurring borders and ideologies.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had only a few months ago called for observing a Day of Yoga at the UN General Assembly, led the celebrations, performing several yogic ‘asanas’ (postures). Wearing his trademark kurta-pyjama and matching them with a white tracksuit and a scarf with the colours of the Indian flag, the Indian leader took part in synchronised yogic exercise and pranayams.
Addressing the congregation, Mr Modi underlined the universal character of yoga, elevating it above politics and partisan rhetoric that had threated to spoil what is clearly not just India’s heritage, but that of the entire humankind. “This is a programme for ‘manav kalyan’ (welfare of manking), a tension-free world and a programme to spread the message of ‘sadbhavana’ (goodwill).”
“Yoga is more than only physical fitness. We are not only celebrating a day but we are training the human mind to begin a new era of peace,” he said in a messianic tone.
Mr Modi underlined the need of human development and said that it was essential to spread the massage of love and wellbeing, and yoga was one of the only ways to benefit the humankind; their minds and their souls.
He also thanked the United Nations and t 177 different countries across the world that co-sponsored the resolution to mark the International Day of Yoga.
The International Day of Yoga event, organised in the Indian capital, broke the Guinness world record for gathering the largest number of people at a yoga event, which was earlier held by Vivekananda Kendra in Gwalior, where 29,973 people had participated in a yoga event on November 29, 2005.
[youtube id=”DEwqGl0REXM”]Several world leaders commemorated the International Day of Yoga, including Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott. “For thousands of years, yoga has provided its followers with a guide to bringing their mind, body and spirit into balance. The International Day of Yoga is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the benefits of yoga,” said Mr Abbott.
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