Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that yoga is not a religious activity and people must embrace it for better mental and physical health.
Addressing over 30,000 yoga enthusiasts in Chandigarh, Modi also said that the UN-declared International Day of Yoga had become the biggest global mass movement.
“Yoga is not a religious activity. Many people do not understand yoga completely. It is not what you will get from yoga but what is important is what you will give to yoga and what all ailments will it rid you of."
Modi said yoga was for both believers and non-believers, and there was no need to create any controversy over it.
“Among all days marked by the UN, no day has equalled the mass movement International Yoga Day has become. It has become the biggest mass movement worldwide,” said Modi.
The PM, after addressing the gathering, took a supervisory round among volunteers doing yoga to mark the day. He later joined them in performing yoga.
"Yoga is not about the other life. Therefore, it is not a religious practice. It is the science of this world, it is about what we will get in this life," added Modi.
"Make yoga a part of your life," he said. "Just as the mobile phone is now a part of your life, make yoga too a part of your life."
The PM further said that yoga helped to control the mind and maintain a healthy body. It helped people to lead a disciplined life.
Modi said yoga was a guarantee for wellness, not just fitness.
"Yoga binds body, mind, intelligence and soul. It provides a balance to mind and body. Yoga gives health assurance at zero budget... Anyone can do it anywhere...”
“We are busy in our lives. We are cut off from ourselves. Yoga helps to link us to ourselves.”
He said yoga had become a big economic activity worldwide, with a huge demand for yoga trainers.
Expressing concern at the rising number of diabetics in India, Modi urged people to focus on the disease so that it could be tackled in a better way by the next International Yoga Day.
He also announced two annual awards to be given from next year: for doing exceptional work for promotion of yoga at the international and national levels.
Haryana and Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Chief Ministers Parkash Singh Badal of Punjab and Manohar Lal Khattar of Haryana too were present.
Also on Tuesday, hundreds of thousands across the country did yoga exercises to mark the global event.