Updated: June 22, 2019 1:12:02 am
With instructions being flashed on large screen TVs and the Prime Minister’s address telecast live simultaneously, over 18,000 people gathered at Rajpath Friday morning to celebrate International Day of Yoga.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was among those present, said yoga “connects all religions for the betterment of mankind”. He, along with ministers Prakash Javadekar and Prahlad Patel, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and Delhi L-G Anil Baijal, practiced yoga as well.
The program, organised by the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Ministry of AYUSH, began at 5.30 am with a display of mallakhamb yoga and women’s self-defence. Anita Saharam (49), one of the participants, said: “I started yoga 19 years ago at a community event just like this one. It helped cure my lower back pain and to stay mentally and physically fit. I hope this event has the same impact on first-timers.”
Eight-year-old Yashika Sood from Trilokpuri was excited that she could take the new yoga mat home. Her brothers Shiv (11) and Devanshu (13) said: “We like doing yoga, but we did not have a mat. Now, we can take it to the park every day.” The three sported Yoga Day T-shirts, distributed by NDMC in several schools.
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For 10-year-old Anshi and her grandmother Bimala Devi from Alipur, the most enjoyable part of the day was hasyoga, during which the whole of Rajpath reverberated with people laughing.
Everyone had their favourite asanas — some said the Om Mantra Ucharan helped calm them down, others said they will do Anulom-Vilom Pranayam every day from now. Two girls were disappointed that Surya Namaskar was not taught at the event.
Mae Hood (19), a student from Spain, said, “It feels good to be part of India’s culture. I have come to learn yoga in India and am heading to Rishikesh next.”
Besides Rajpath, events were held across the city. Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu visited Red Fort to participate in a function organised by the Brahma Kumaris. “He spoke about the importance of Rajyoga that purifies the mind and soul… celebrating the day on such a large scale makes us all feel better,” said Brahma Kumari Eva (19).
Ministers Piyush Goyal and Ravi Shankar Prasad did yoga at Lodhi Garden, while Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari visited Talkatora Stadium, where hundreds of primary school students performed asanas they had practiced diligently for a month.
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