Washington/Beijing: Yoga enthusiasts across the world on Wednesday performed various asanas at events organised by Indian missions at iconic places in several countries ahead of the third International Yoga Day.
Dressed in white T-shirt and trouser, people stretched themselves in various postures at Yoga events held in the US, Japan, China, Pakistan and other countries.
In Washington, hundreds of people gathered at the historic National Mall and performed asanas to mark the Yoga Day to be held on June 21.
The Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna, said it was a moving sight to see people turning up in large numbers at the heart of the US capital for the event.
Sarna said the international event is neither a political movement, nor an economic movement. "This is something which is only for the benefit of all humanity at both an individual level and a macro level, because ultimately all societies in all countries are made up of human beings," he said.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, in a citation, sent his best wishes for "a joyous observance" of the Yoga Day organised by the Indian Embassy in association with the Friends of Yoga.
Virginia Governor Chris Van Hollen also sent his citation on the occasion in recognition of "the spiritual value that yoga and meditation offer, and with appreciation and gratitude for the organising committees outstanding efforts to encourage, peace, harmony and consciousness".
The Indian High Commission in Pakistan also celebrated the International Day of Yoga with great fervor. Led by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale, a large number people performed various asanas.
Yoga fever also gripped China as thousands of Chinese Yoga enthusiasts performed asanas in Wenzhou which became the sixth city in the Communist nation to host the celebrations.
More than 1000 yoga lovers from all over Wenzhou participated in the Yoga session at the event held at the scenic Dongtou Wanghai Pavilion.
The celebration also hosted a unique performance of Chinese Taichi, Kongfu and Yoga together as a synchronised dance sequence to open the event.
China has planned to organise scores of events across the country, which officials say will make it the second biggest celebrations of the day in the world after India.
Though Yoga, which originated in India, has become immensely popular over the years in China vying with ancient indigenous physical fitness martial art form Tai Chi, it got an official sanction when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang joined Prime Minister Modi in Beijing in 2015 at a joint event during the latters visit.
China also backed Indias move in the UN to make June 21 as International Yoga Day, giving a fillip to hundreds of yoga clubs and organisations. The function was jointly organised by Consulate General of India, Shanghai along with Wenzhou Municipal People's Government.
In Japan, the Indian Embassy celebrated the Yoga Day at the Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo. Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Japan in September 2014 had visited the school and interacted with the students.
This is the third year that the Embassy of India has been celebrating the International Day of Yoga at the school. The event began with the inaugural address by Indias Ambassador to Japan Sujan Chinoy, who read out the message of the Prime Minister.
Indian-origin beauty queen Priyanka Yoshikawa, who was crowned Miss World Japan last year, also participated in the the event. Japan is the only country that has set up a Parliamentary League for the promotion of Yoga, which was established during the visit of Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to Japan in April 2017.
Many Japanese dignitaries, including former Prime Minister, former Ministers and Members of Parliament sent congratulatory messages to the Ambassador and the Government of India on this occasion....