Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) participates in a mass yoga demonstration during the International Yoga Day in Lucknow, India, on June 21, 2017. (Xinhua/Stringer)
NEW DELHI, June 21 (Xinhua) -- India on Wednesday converged to celebrate the International Yoga Day.
Across all Indian states lawmakers, top officials along with hundreds of people, mostly young, stretched their bodies to perform Yoga to mark the third international Yoga Day.
The main function in India was held in northern Indian city of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed Yoga at Ramabai Ambedkar Ground Wednesday morning.
Officials said more than 55,000 Yoga enthusiasts braving early morning drizzle participated in the function.
Addressing the gathering, Modi appealed people to make Yoga part of their lives.
"Many countries which do not know our language, tradition, or culture, are now connecting to India through Yoga. The practice, which connects body, mind and soul, has played a big role in binding the world too," Modi said.
Wearing a white t-shirt and loose trousers, Modi performed Yoga.
Modi said, as a very small use of salt makes the food tasty, small practices of Yoga help a person to be healthy and free from diseases.
"It is not important to perform Yoga for 24 hours. 50 or 60 minutes is fine, because it lends harmony to the body, mind and intellect," he said.
The United Nations declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga after Modi, a Yoga enthusiast lobbied for ancient Indian art.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a mass Yoga session at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Yoga includes stretching and bending of body besides doing breathing exercises aimed at transforming body and mind. Proponents of the exercise say it is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice with origins in India.
At Connaught Place in the Indian capital, several dignitaries, including Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal performed various postures of Yoga with people.
"Thousands of people performed asanas in the national capital today to mark the third International Yoga Day. Over 10,000 people gathered at Central Park in the heart of Connaught Place and the circular road around it, making it one of the largest yoga shows in the city. School students, teachers, government employees, political leaders, police and paramilitary officials as well as volunteers from NGOs were among those who performed the yoga postures on the mats rolled out on the lawns," a government spokesman said.
India's official broadcaster All India Radio said Yoga Day celebrations were taking place in 5,000 places across the country.
India's permanent representative at the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin performed yoga in New York along with many foreign nationals, the broadcaster said.
Reports said in the United Arab Emirates, more than 15,000 people participated in the Yoga Day celebrations. Programs were held simultaneously at the iconic Burj Khalifa park, Zabeel Park and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre complex in Dubai.