Union defence minister Rajnath Singh led the fifth International Yoga Day at the national capital, sending out the message that yoga can help bring about “religious harmony and betterment of mankind”. “Yoga is not an activity of any particular religion. It provides a platform, which connects all religions for the betterment of the body, mind and soul of mankind,” he said at the event organised by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).He added, “Not only Indians, but people from over 177 countries performed yoga today (Friday).” In several parts of the city, government officials, students, senior citizens and women celebrated yoga day by collectively performing asanas (poses). With the theme, ‘Yoga for Heart Care’, the government focussed on ensuring that yoga is integrated into people’s lives, helping reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.“Yoga has been included in the National Health Policy because now, with a firm scientific backing, we are able to say that is beneficial for lifestyle diseases. In fact, to manage diseases such as diabetes, yoga and lifestyle modification and diet change can be helpful,” Roshan Jaggi, joint secretary in Union health ministry, said.In Delhi, Yoga day events were organised by the ministry at eight venues—Raj Ghat, Lal Quila, Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri, Yamuna Sports Complex in East Delhi, Swarna Jayanti Park in Rohini, and Dwarka — bringing together almost 80,000 people.At the ministry of health, yoga day was celebrated with a session led by health secretary Preeti Sudan. “We are also promoting yoga in workplaces as increasingly, people are spending more time there. It is especially important for those whose work is sedentary and mainly involve computers. This can cause backache, apart from the stress. Doing a little yoga will help,” Jaggi said.This has been made easy with the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga developing different yoga protocols for different sets of people like students, adolescent girls, and pregnant women.Schools and universities across Delhi also celebrated the day with Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia sharing pictures on social media of students of government schools participating in Yoga events. “We had asked students from the sports and yoga camp to join the hour-long session at our school. Teachers and parents also participated in the event and they enjoyed the session,” said AK Jha, principal of a government school in Rohini.Hundreds of students, including the differently abled from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) primary schools, also performed different asanas to show their support. “The students performed asanas such as Trikanasan, Shashankasan, Dandasan, Vjrasan, Bhujangasan, Makrasan, Setubandahasan, Shavsan and also practised pranayam,” a statement by the SDMC said.