PM Modi leads Yoga Day celebrations

21 Jun 2016 | Written by Vijaya ; Edited by Gaurav
International Yoga Day 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined over 30,000 people at the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh for the second International Yoga Day celebrations.

In a brief address, PM stressed that yoga is "not a religious practice" and urged people to embrace yoga for better physical and mental health.

Across the country, 57 ministers including Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Smriti Irani led sessions.

In context: International Yoga Day 2016

Yoga, an ancient practice

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

About International Yoga Day

On December 11 in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.

The declaration came after PM Narendra Modi called for an International Yoga Day to be celebrated around the world in his speech in the UN General Assembly.

The UN resolution proposed by India, was endorsed by a record number of 175 nations.

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First International Yoga Day celebrations

21 Jun 2015First International Yoga Day celebrations

The first International Yoga Day was celebrated with great fanfare across India as well as around the world.

A total of 192 nations, including 44 Islamic countries, celebrated the inaugural edition of International Yoga Day.

Delhi's Rajpath has become a "Yogi" path with people of all ages participating in great numbers. PM Narendra Modi joined 37,000 other participants to make the day a sucess.

Guinness World Records for Ministry of AYUSH

For most individuals practicing yoga at the same time at same place, and for largest number of individuals from different nationalities practicing yoga, on First International Yoga Day, India's Ministry of AYUSH was awarded with two Guinness World Records.

Controversy 2015Controversies in the past surrounding Yoga Day

The International Day of Yoga first celebrated on 21 June 2015, generated some controversies.

The major controversy being the fierce debate about government's support of yoga, with some reportedly arguing that it is a Hindu practise which goes against Islamic teaching.

A Muslim Personal Law board member told BBC Urdu that BJP, by promoting yoga, was trying to push the Hindu agenda.

17 May 2016Chanting 'Om' not a must, says AYUSH Ministry

The AYUSH Ministry in a statement clarified that the chanting of 'Om' and other Vedic mantras before the yoga session on International Yoga Day was not compulsory but voluntary.

The statement comes after the release of ministry's 'Common Yoga Protocol' that proposed chanting of 'Om' and recitation of some Vedic mantras before the 45-minute yoga session on International Yoga Day.

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21 Jun 2016PM Modi leads Yoga Day celebrations

Twitter's Yoga Day emoji

Twitter joined the International Yoga Day celebrations with a Yoga Day emoji which appears when you type #YogaDay or #योगदिवस while tweeting.

22 Jun 2016Modi, Cabinet ministers conduct smooth Yoga day ceremonies

PM Modi led Yoga day celebrations in the Capitol complex in Chandigarh.

The celebrations were boycotted by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and the Bihar government also did not conduct any official programmes.

In Kerala, Health Minister and CPM leader K K Shailaja stirred controversy by questioning the need for the inclusion of a Sanskrit shloka in the celebration, thereby questioning the government's secularism.