Chandigarh, June 21 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to embrace yoga for better physical and mental health as he led thousands here on Tuesday morning to mark the second International Yoga Day.
Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands across the country began the day with yoga exercises.
Modi oversaw some 30,000 yoga enthusiasts in Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex performing deep breathing and stretching exercises before joining them.
The complex is one of the acclaimed creations of Chandigarh’s founder-architect French architect Le Corbusier.
“Make yoga a part of your life,” the prime minister said in a brief address. “Just as the mobile phone is now a part of your life, make yoga too a part of your life.”
He said the International Yoga Day had become a mass movement like no other in the world.
The UN last year declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.
Underlining that yoga was not a religious activity, Modi said it helped to control the mind and maintain a healthy body for a healthy balance between the two.
Yoga, he added, helped people to lead a disciplined life.
The prime minister later got down from the stage from where he addressed the gathering to shake hands with specially-abled yoga enthusiasts.
Donning T-shirts and track-pants, yoga enthusiasts, shortlisted to perform yoga, began lining up around the spruced up complex around 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
Over 96,000 people had registered themselves to take part in the event. Of this, over 30,000 were picked, including 10,000 each from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.
These included school and college students, youths, elderly, specially challenged, security personnel and yoga activists. Those taking part in the event have been training for the past 15 days.
Unprecedented security was in place around the venue in Chandigarh’s high-security area of Sector 1. The area was sealed off by paramilitary commandos and security agencies ahead of the event.
The Capitol Complex wore a new look with the concrete floor covered with a green carpet.
Besides the main event, yoga day was held at 100 other locations across Chandigarh.
Yoga guru Ramdev started his record-breaking yoga event in Faridabad town in Haryana, adjoining the national capital, early on Tuesday.
Organisers said over 100,000 people performed yoga with Ramdev, setting a world record.
The main event of the first International Yoga Day celebration was held on Rajpath in the heart of New Delhi last year.