International Yoga Day: Millions of people bend and twist their bodies as India leads the way
New Delhi: Millions across the planet joined to celebrate the inaugural International Day of Yoga on June 21, in a tribute to the ancient Indian spiritual and exercise discipline known to balance mind, body and spirit.
The spectacular celebrations were led by Indians, showing the country's soft power to the world.
Chants of 'Om' and recitation of 'Mantras' echoed through the atmosphere on Sunday. From glaciers of Siachen to the troubled waters of the South China Sea, from Sydney's popular Bondi beach to the banks of the Thames in London, from obscure parks to the barracks of Tihar Jail, people stretched and bent and sat in quiet meditation as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the occasion as the "dawn of a new era of peace".
The largest of spectacles unfolded early morning on the imposing Rajpath, where Modi, whose call led to declaration of June 21 as International Day of Yoga by the UN, sprang a surprise as he performed various asanas and pranayams with over 35,000 people, an eclectic mix of top-ranking commanders of defence forces, frontline politicians and the hoi polloi.