By Associated Press
Yoga practitioners took a relaxing break to bend, twist and pose Wednesday morning for the annual event celebrating the practice, especially in the country where it began.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined 50,000 students and other residents for a mass yoga session in the pouring rain in the northern city of Lucknow. Similar yoga displays were organized in villages, towns and cities across India.
The United Nations designated International Yoga Day in 2014. In Myanmar, people performed exercises near the Shwedagon pagoda, the landmark Buddhist stupa in Yangon.
The practice began in ancient India, and Modi has described yoga as free health insurance and exhorted people to make it a part of their daily lives.
Even in the rain, “there is no let down in the enthusiasm of the volunteers,” Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said.
Modi, dressed in white, instructed the children at the outdoor yoga session at Rama Bai Ambedkar Ground. Occasionally, he paused to correct a child’s posture.
“It was a very nice gesture of prime minister to come out of the dry comfort of his waterproof tent and do yoga with us in the open. It was not easy. The yoga mat was wet and slippery and water puddles were all around,” 18-year-old student Neha Prakash said.