An entire nation, irrespective of age or gender, stretched and twisted their bodies on Tuesday, to mark the second International Yoga Day.
A range of people from differently abled students to pregnant women overcame their physical hardships to master this ancient practice.
An event of global proportions like this one, is bound to attract quirky claims, create controversies and set random records.
Here is a list of inspiring events, controversies and ‘world records’ from the second International Yoga Day.
Where there is a will...
Dispelling the notion that being physically sound is a prerequisite for performing yoga, a group of differently abled students sent out a strong message by performing asanas and yogic exercises in New Delhi.
PM Narendra Modi interacted with members of the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC), Mohali, who performed asanas on wheel-chairs.
An advocate from Tamil Nadu, K P Ranchana, claimed on Tuesday that she set a world record by performing yoga for 53 consecutive hours. She allegedly performed 600 asanas.
“I didn’t feel tired performing asanas since the morning of June 19. After I completed them, I wondered why it all came to an end. From tomorrow onwards, it is going to be work as usual,” said Ranchana, who hails from the temple town of Kanchipuram, around 75 km from Chennai.
Ranchana apparently broke the world record set by Uttam Muktan of Nepal who performed yoga for 50 hours and 15 minutes in December 2015.
HT could not independently verify this claim.
Kerala’s health minister K K Shailaja had no issues with practising yoga but she was annoyed with the background music - Sanskrit Kirtans. It is not secular, she claimed, as people from all religions were interested in the event.
Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Kummanem Rajasekheran asked the minister to come clean about the group of people she wanted to appease through this.
“We are baffled why the minister was showing so much intolerance, it was totally unwarranted,” said Rajasekheran.
Shailaja, later said she never asked for an explanation from the officials on the ‘kirtans’ .
For a better tomorrow...
Nearly 2,000 pregnant women preformed asanas in Rajkot, Gujarat. According to state chief minister Anandiben Patel, this is a world record. .
Rajkot district collector Vikrant Pandey said the exercise session was carried out under the direct observation of over 100 doctors and the guidance of yoga trainers from Haridwar.
“The criteria of the Guinness W orld Records were followed in order to create the new record. It required the participation of women who are at least 12 weeks pregnant. Against the requirement of a 30-minute session, the pregnant ladies in Rajkot performed yoga for 47 minutes,” Pandey said.
HT could not independently verify this claim.
High on yoga
Forty crew members practised yoga 35,000 feet above sea level on board a SpiceJet flight. Yoga can cure jetlag, and fear of flying, according to Isha Foundation, which collaborated with the airline for the event.
“Having pioneered ‘High On Yoga@35,000 feet’ last year, SpiceJet gifted on-board Yoga to flyers in India and abroad and uphold India’s cultural heritage in a unique manner,” senior vice-president and head of inflight services Hingorani said.
Yoga on empty stomach
BJP’s member of parliament from East Delhi Maheish Girri, who was on a hunger strike outside chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house, performed yoga at the agitation venue to mark International Yoga Day.
“On IDY2016 today, participated in a Yoga Session with all karyakartas, here at the venue of my Anshan,” Girri tweeted.
He later ended the huger strike after home minister Rajnath Singh persuaded him “not to put his life at stake”.
Yoga on ice for peace
At an altitude of around 5,700 feet above sea level, where oxygen is sparse, against the backdrop of snow-clad peaks and glaciers, troops in their special white suits performed different asanas at Siachen - the world’s highest battlefield.
The Indian Air Force organised Yoga events at its bases across the country, including Old Willingdon Camp at Race Course in Delhi.
The Indian Navy observed the day with its personnel performing Yoga on ships, as well as at Naval stations across the country.
India, international or Uttarakhand?
While Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu said yoga was India’s gift to humanity, renowned spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said in the United Nations on Tuesday, “if you want to call yoga Indian, then you must call gravity European.”
He later clarified by saying, “yoga is not about you versus me. This is why I said yoga is not Indian because a science cannot be Indian. Yes, yoga originated from India and as Indians we are proud of it but it does not belong to India.”
But Uttarakand chief minister Harish Rawat had other ideas. At a state-level workshop held on International Yoga Day in Dehradun, he said yoga “belongs to Uttarakhand whose saints and seers taught the rest of the world about the miraculous effects of yogic postures.”
(with inputs from AFP, PTI, IANS)