NEW DELHI:Countries across the globe observed the first International Yoga Day on Sunday.
Thousands of yoga practitioners took the open roads in New York and Washington to strike a pose. In New York, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj led celebrations at UN, as well as the annual summer solstice event at Times Square. The National Mall in Washington was similarly transformed with people practising asanas in unison.
Despite a fatwa against Malay Muslims practising yoga, the day saw enthusiastic participation from Malaysians. Over 450 people took part in the main event at Kuala Lumpur’s badminton stadium with Malaysian Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports M Saravanan being the chief guest.
Ramzan month notwithstanding, over a thousand people assembled at Plaza Selatan GBK, one of the main venues for mass events in Jakarta, Indonesia. As they performed, they were also filmed from the sky by a drone for a breathtaking video released by the Indian Embassy.
Exceeding all calculations, over 7,000 people participated at early morning yoga on the lawns of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in Thailand. The event was inaugurated by the Thai Tourism Minister.
Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and his wife were the lead yoga practitioners at the the Royal Institute of Management in Thimpu.
Most of the events in Saudi Arabia were performed in Indian schools dotted across the country. Besides the campus of the Indian Embassy of Riyadh, 1,500 school students took part in functions held at the International Indian Schools in Dammam and Riyadh and International Indian Public School in Riyadh.
At the Iraqi Hunting Club in Baghdad, over 60 Iraqi yoga enthusiasts performed asanas for an audience, led by the Iraqi Culture Minister and diplomatic corps.
From the secured Indian embassy complex to the heights of the Salma Dam in Herat in Afghanistan, yoga sessions were held for both Afghans and Indians.
On the Indian High Commission’s premises in Islamabad, a yoga demonstration was held, which was attended by members of the Pakistani capital’s diplomatic corps.
A special commemorative postal cover was released at the official yoga day event in Mauritius, which was presided over by Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth. The event was broadcast live on state television.
From the main square in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh to the temples of Angkor, the day was observed in Cambodia.
The central square in Mongolia’s Ulaan Baatar, named after the Mongol conqueror Chengiz Khan, turned into a open-air studio with yoga mats unrolled and asanas performed to mark the day.