Spectacular celebrations mark International Day of Yoga
22/06/2015 00:47

Amid chants of 'Om' and recitation of 'Mantras' for universal peace, millions across the globe joined in spectacular celebrations to mark the inaugural International Day of Yoga, in a tribute to the ancient Indian spiritual and exercise discipline known to balance mind, body and spirit, reported PTI.

From glaciers of Siachen to the troubled waters of the South China Sea, from Sydney's popular Bondi beach to the banks of the Thames in London, from obscure parks to the barracks of Tihar Jail, people stretched and bent and sat in quiet meditation as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the occasion as the "dawn of a new era of peace".

The largest of spectacles unfolded early morning on the imposing Rajpath, where Modi, whose call led to declaration of June 21 as International Day of Yoga by the UN, sprang a surprise as he performed various asanas and pranayams with nearly 36,000 people, an eclectic mix of top-ranking commanders of defence forces, frontline politicians and the hoi polloi.

The Rajpath event made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest yoga demonstration at a single venue with 35,985 people participating. It also set a new record for the largest number of people of various nationalities--84, performing yoga at one place.

An avid yoga practitioner for many years, 64-year-old Modi, who was not scheduled to perform the 'asanas' climbed down the podium after his address to the gathering and joined others seated or sprawling on mats along the boulevard, one of Delhi's iconic landmarks.

The entire two-km stretch from Rafi Marg crossing near Vijay Chowk to India Gate was lined with blue and red mats over green carpets with people of all ages twisting, bending and stretching on the Rajpath, the venue of the famous Republic Day parade, performing various yoga exercises.

Attired in a loose white shirt and trousers and a tricolour scarf wrapped around his neck, Modi did most of the 21 'asanas' along with thousands of participants as part of the common yoga protocol, following simultaneous instructions in Hindi and English also beamed live on giant digital screens.

Modi expressed his gratitude to the United Nations and 193 countries for their "unprecedented support" in passing an India-sponsored resolution to declare June 21 as International Day of Yoga and said a "new era" has begun to train the human mind to scale new heights of peace and harmony. Modi also cautioned against commodifying yoga.