Downward-facing dogs, cobras and warriors were set to sprout all over the world Thursday, as the fourth annual International Yoga Day got under way.
"On 21 June, join Yoga Day celebrations".
Since coming to power in 2014, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken yoga as an emblem of India's flourishing in the world, pushing for the United Nations resolution that has since 2015 consecrated June 21 as International Yoga Day.
"Yoga is not about just exercises, but it is about synchronizing mind and body.in this world which is full of stresses and ailments in our daily lives, yoga is one way of finding solutions to those problems", he said. The enthusiasm of getting from "illness to wellness" is spreading from the busy streets of the South Korean capital, Seoul, to the foot of Eiffel Tower in Paris.
"Yoga has emerged as the biggest unifying force in the world and has become a biggest mass movement", Modi said in his address.
Yoga became known in the West towards the end of the 19th century as it was undergoing a major revival in India under the Hindu teacher Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902). "However, after practicing some postures at International Yoga Day at the Indian school, I feel relaxed and am able to speak more freely".
The 67-year-old leader, who lobbied for worldwide recognition of Yoga Day in 2014, landed in Dehradun, Uttarakhand late Wednesday, but was up early to take his position on a bright orange yoga mat.
"Yoga should be a 365-day affair and should be practiced for a healthy living", stated Sudhansu Adhikari, Odisha chief of the Patanjali Yoga Samiti.
A series of yoga related events are also being organised across the world to mark the occasion. "We refuse the imposition to practise yoga and we will keep opposing its celebration in the state", said Vanlalruata, president of anti-corruption organisation-turned-political party, People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram.
The word "yoga" has its origins in the ancient Sanskrit language and means "to attach, join, harness, yoke". Yoga's popularity and acceptability is spreading around the world cutting across the continents and religious lines. The prime minister had earlier participated in yoga celebrations at Rajpath in New Delhi in 2015, the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh in 2016, and the Ramabai Ambedkar Sabha Sthal in Lucknow in 2017. "The Saudi government's permission to practice yoga as a sports activity has certainly added to this, and we are happy at the large turnout of the community to make it a huge success", Sheikh said. ITBP is a specially trained unit that guards India's eastern border, most of which is fall under Himalayan mountain range.