Two years after the first International Day of Yoga was celebrated the world over, yoga enthusiasts were back again Wednesday morning lunging forward, raising and stretching their arms, and slowly inhaling and exhaling.
From China to Crotia and Japan to Machu Picchu, enthusiasts around the world gathered together to perform yoga poses
to mark the third edition of the Yoga Day.
This year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined at least 51,000 people in Lucknow as they pulled their mats out for a massive demonstration, braving the rain. World over, hundreds of countries will celebrate the discipline on Wednesday.
"Yoga was a great medium to bring cohesion in the society," Modi said, adding no one in the world was questioning the benefits of yoga.
"I request people to make yoga a part of their life. We may not master yoga or become teachers but we should not stop from doing yoga," he said. "Yoga not only enlightens the body but also the soul."
The Prime Minister described yoga as a free life insurance, which everyone can avail to better their health.
The day was introduced when PM Modi successfully lobbied the United Nations to dedicate 24 hours to the ancient discipline in September 2013.
See how celebrations for Yoga Day spanned the globe
Yoga at United Nations
United Nations General Assembly president Peter Thomson asserted that the age old practice guides people towards being in harmony with fellow humans and with nature.
Pointing out towards the fast-paced ways of the 21st century, Thomson said it is important for us to ensure that we look after ourselves through healthy lifestyles and choices and that which helps us sustain physically and mentally, adding that Yoga connects our bodies with nature and leads us in a better balance with the world around us.
"In the plethora of challenges and activities of the 21st century, we need precious moments of self-reflection," Thomson said while addressing the mammoth gathering at the UN headquarters.
Thomson reiterated that the ancient art of physical, mental and spiritual balance helps many to achieve assets of well-being among the bustle of the contemporary world.
"The theme of this year's celebration 'Yoga for Health' directly links Yoga practice to sustainable development goal number three which focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages," he added.
Thomson highlighted that Yoga has become a global identity and thanked the permanent mission of India for organising the event here.
"I want to thank permanent mission of India for organising the event and especially to Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin and his team for bringing us all together on International Yoga Day
and for providing us with the opportunity to celebrate this age old practice in the interest of peace. The benefits of Yoga are well-known. Emerging from ancient South Asia, Yoga is now practised in different forms all around the world and has assumed a global identity," he said.
International Yoga Day: Yoga being performed at the USA embassy in Delhi
Thousands of people of different nationalities took part in various events organised in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the eve of the International Yoga Day.
Yoga in UAE
The third International Yoga Day
is celebrated on June 21 but the events in the UAE were held a day earlier.
The Khaleej Times reported that there were multiple venues across the UAE for the day. As the sun set down, participants trooped to the main venues in Dubai such as Burj Park, Zabeel Park and Burhani Complex in Al Nahda, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium and at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi.
Indian Consul General Vipul joined the Burj Park event where UAE Minister of Happiness Ohood Al Roumi and Dubai Sports Council Secretary General Saeed Hareb were also present.
Over 1,200 yoga enthusiasts in South Africa's Soweto township today got their first taste of yoga when they performed various 'asanas' at an event on the eve of International Day of Yoga.
The Consulate General of India in Johannesburg along with the volunteers of the Art of Living Foundation and yoga school trainers organised the event at a park in the township.
The event was part of a week-long programme at different venues across South Africa coordinated by the Indian missions in all major cities. It will culminate on Sunday at a special yoga session at Tolstoy Farm, the commune started by Mahatma Gandhi during his tenure in Johannesburg at the turn of the 19th century.
Yoga in Israel
Israel will hold the largest yoga event at Rabin Square in its capital Tel Aviv on the occasion of International Yoga Day
today. Thousands will partake in multiple forms of yoga led by Rohit Sabharwal, a renowned yoga teacher.
Wth inputs from Agencies