Millions of people across India celebrated the second annual International Yoga Day on Tuesday, part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to promote the ancient Indian discipline. Yoga, which has been practiced in the country for centuries, received global recognition after the United Nations declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day in 2014, a proposal that was initiated by Modi.
Modi joined a crowd of 30,000 schoolchildren and other residents of the northern city of Chandigarh for a mass yoga session. On Tuesday, Modi urged people to make yoga a part of their lives, adding that the practice was accessible to all.
"With zero budget yoga provides health assurance and it does not discriminate between rich and poor," Modi told participants at the event.
Over 100,000 yoga programs were organized across India Tuesday, with the main event held at Chandigarh's Capitol Complex, where nearly 35,000 people, led by Modi, reportedly participated. Over 96,000 people had registered themselves to take part in the event in Chandigarh.
"Yoga is such a passion in India, we are practicing to show our support," U.S. Ambassador Richard Rahul Verma, who also took part in the yoga day celebrations in New Delhi, said.
In India's capital, New Delhi, 10,000 people participated in yoga at various locations. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the government planned to run 104 medical helplines to answer questions on yoga.