Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning said that "pranayama" - the practice of breath control in yoga - can "help boost immunity" as he addressed the nation to mark the International Yoga Day amid a spike in coronavirus cases across the country.
"Covid-19 attacks our respiratory system. What makes our respiratory system stronger is "Pranayama", which is a breathing exercise. Usually, anulom, vilom are popular "Pranayama" techniques. We should make these a part of our daily routine. There are many yoga exercises that boost our immunity and strengthen the metabolism," PM Modi said this morning.
"A lot of coronavirus patients across the world are benefiting due to yoga. It gives us the confidence to struggle during the difficult times and emerge victorious. Yoga gives us physical strength and peace of mind," he added.
India crossed the 4 lakh-mark last night after a record jump in the number of coronavirus infections over the last three days. Over 12,000 patients have died in the country so far. Across the world, more than 86 lakh have been affected by the pandemic.
For the first time since it was instituted on June 21, 2015, coinciding with the Summer Solstice each year, Yoga Day has gone digital this year. No mass gatherings will be held this time.
This year's theme is "Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family". "This year, we are celebrating Yoga day at our homes. Today is also a day when we will strengthen the bond with our family," PM Modi said today.
Yoga enhances "our quest for a healthier planet", the Prime Minister said, adding that "it has emerged as a force for unity and deepens the bonds of humanity". "It does not discriminate. It goes beyond race, colour, gender, faith and nations. Anybody can embrace Yoga," he said.
"If we can fine tune our chords of health and hope, the day is not far away when world will witness the success of healthy and happy humanity. Yoga can definitely help us make this happen," PM Modi said. He also quoted Swami Vivekananda, remembered as a spiritual genius who introduced Yoga to the western world, and Bhagavad gita, a sacred scripture in Hinduism during his address.
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.