As the world observed International Yoga Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led from the front, addressing a 50,000-strong gathering at Lucknow’s Ramabai Ambedkar grounds before performing yoga with 100 students for about 20 minutes.
The Prime Minister said yoga can provide health benefits free of cost, and added that several countries that were unaware of India’s culture are now connected to it because of yoga.
“One does not need to perform yoga for 24 hours. Only 50 or 60 minutes… yoga has the power to give health assurance at zero cost,” he said amid incessant rain, adding that when people perform yoga for the first time, they feel that several organs that were lying asleep start waking up.
Modi said that there was once a time when yoga was practised only by sages and monks, but it has now become a part of daily life. “Today, there is no question mark over yoga in any part of the world. Changes occurred with time; different societies in the world made additions to yoga and led to its improvement as per place, time, situation and age,” he said. “There are many countries which do not know our language, traditions or culture, but the entire world is getting connected with us because of yoga.”
Recalling how the United Nations gave its nod for International Day of Yoga, Modi said there might not be a single country where yoga-related programmes are not held. “Today, in many states of the country, yoga has been adopted as part of their education so that future generations get apprised of this science of ours to help it become a part of their lives,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that in the last three years, new yoga institutes have come up and many youths have started taking up yoga as a profession. He added that there was a demand for yoga instructors, especially from India, around the world.
Lauding the people of Lucknow for attending the event despite incessant rain, the Prime Minister said in a lighter vein that they had shown how yoga mats could be used during rainfall — many people had covered themselves with the mats arranged by the state government during the downpour.
After concluding his speech, Modi walked to an enclosure and performed yoga with nearly 100 students. Besides the Prime Minister, Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma and Minister of State for Ayush (Independent Charge) Shripad Yesso Naik performed yoga at the venue.