Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today deliver a message to the nation and participate in an event for International Yoga Day online as the occasion is set to be marked on digital media platforms without mass gatherings this time in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time since it was instituted on June 21, 2015, coinciding with the Summer Solstice each year, Yoga Day will go digital. This year's theme is "Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family".
PM Modi will address the nation at 6:40 am and national broadcaster Doordarshan will begin the day's special programme at 6:15 am, government sources said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah was among the first leaders this morning to tweet on International Yoga Day. "Yoga is a means of establishing harmony between body and mind, thought process and work, humanity and nature... This precious gift of Indian culture to the entire humanity has received global acceptance due to Modi ji's efforts... World has embraced yoga," he tweeted.
"Due to the current global health emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the focus this year is less on such celebrations and more on people performing Yoga at their respective homes with participation of the entire family," the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy or AYUSH said.
PM Modi on Thursday had urged people, in a video message, to observe the day from the confines of their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We all know that until now nowhere in the world have they been able to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 or coronavirus. Which is why right now, only a strong immunity can act as a protective shield or a bodyguard for us and our family members... yoga is our trusted friend in building this protective shield (of immunity)," he said.
As has been the practice in International Day of Yoga observations, the Prime Minister's message will be followed by a live demonstration of a 45-minute Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) by a team from Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga.
The CYP drill has been designed keeping in mind people of different age groups and of varied walks of life, the ministry had said in its statement.
"Yoga is found to be especially relevant in the pandemic situation, since its practice leads to both physical and mental wellbeing, and increases the individual's ability to fight diseases," it said.
Yoga programmes are organaised across the globe by Indian missions every year, but this year will be different. Several missions are organizing digital events to mark the occasion.
Thousands of yoga enthusiasts in Texas and adjoining US states are all set to roll out their mats in the safety of their homes with acclaimed yoga guru Baba Ramdev on livestream to mark the International Day of Yoga, news agency PTI reported.
(With inputs from PTI)