NEW DELHI: Downward-facing dogs, cobras and warriors sprouted all over Asia on Thursday, including high in the Himalayas, up in the air and under the sea, for International Yoga Day.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose proposal for the global event won UN approval in 2014, led the way, performing his asanas with over 50,000 others in the northern city of Dehradun.
People there gathered at a sprawling forest research institute — snakes and monkeys were removed in advance — as far as they eye could see before dawn for the communal session involving the yoga-mad premier, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
“Instead of dividing, Yoga unites. Instead of further animosity, Yoga assimilates. Instead of increasing suffering, Yoga heals,” Modi said on Twitter.
Other gatherings took place across New Delhi with 10,000 enthusiasts registered as well as more than 5,000 events across from the country including in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Patna.
In the capital several hundred braved unhealthy pollution levels and hot and humid weather to lay out their mats in the Lodi Gardens park amid the Mughal tombs.
“Yoga basically comes from India, and now it’s celebrated all over the world. So now the world knows the power of yoga,” participant Sidharth Singh, 23, told AFP.
The largest was in Mysore in the south with more than 60,000 aficionados strutting their stuff, organisers said.
There was also floating yoga on board the Japanese naval ship JS Ise and on the Indian Navy’s INS Sahyadri, both taking part in military exercises in the Pacific, the Indian Navy said.
Below the surface, photos released by the Indian military showed a submarine crew joining in, while the Air Force tweeted photos of skydiving parachute instructors in yoga poses as they tumbled to Earth.—AFP