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Yoga has connected the world with India: Modi

Updated: Jun 21, 2017 23:12 IST

LUCKNOW: Incessant rainfall failed to dampen the spirit of thousands who assembled at the sprawling Ramabai Ambedkar ground here to perform an array of asanas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in observance of the third International Yoga Day on Wednesday morning.

Modi, who arrived at the venue around 6.40 am with governor Ram Naik and chief minister Yogi Adityanath, did not let people down. Even as an enthusiastic crowd chanted ‘Modi Modi’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, he shrugged off his security cordon to join the students assembled in the main arena.

Modi, in his address, praised the people for braving rainfall since 4 am for the yogic cause. “I thank Lucknowites for patiently waiting in this rain to perform yoga,” he said. “Today, they have sent a message across the world that yoga can be performed even in a downpour.”

The Prime Minister said yoga has cut across linguistic and cultural barriers to unite various regions of the world – just like it links the mind, body and soul. Urging people to make yoga as integral a part of their lives as common salt, he said: “Earlier, yoga was performed only by saints. Today, it is found in every household.”

Yoga has also played a big role in bridging India with the world, he claimed. “Several countries have acknowledged the discipline. It has connected the entire world, with several countries performing yoga on this day. And even here, the demand for yoga teachers has increased manifold in the last three years. Yoga has become part of the education curriculum in several states across the country.”

Modi said the increasing popularity of yoga spurred Unesco to add yoga to its list of intangible cultural heritage, along with Cuba’s rumba and Peru’s scissor dance, in December last year.

He also asserted that attaining “wellness” through yoga was more important than simple physical fitness. “It is not necessary to perform yoga 24 hours a day. Fifty or sixty minutes should be enough to bring harmony to the body, mind and intellect. If 1.25 billion Indians and people across the world attain this state of well-being, humankind will be able to tide over problems borne out of human thoughts,” he said.

Once his address was complete, the Prime Minister surprised everybody by descending on the ground to join the students waiting to perform yoga. The crowd burst into cheers. Then, for around 20 minutes, Modi followed the instructions being conveyed through the public address system to perform a number of yog asanas. The students behind him followed his lead, matching him step to step.

Modi left the venue around 7.25 am. The participants then wound up the event, taking their yoga mats along with them.

In his speech earlier, Adityanath thanked Modi for picking Lucknow as his venue for performing yoga on the third IYD. He also expressed his gratitude to those who waited hours in the rain to perform yoga with the Prime Minister.

First Published: Jun 21, 2017 23:10 IST