File photo of PM Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will perform yoga at a public event next month, part of his international drive to increase participation in the ancient discipline.
PM Modi will practice physical poses and breathing control with about 45000 people on a 1.5 km stretch on Rajpath, the main ceremonial avenue in capital New Delhi, on June 21, government officials said. The new department of AYUSH is working with the Morarji Yoga Institute to organise the event.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other ministers are expected to perform too along with the Prime Minister.
The United Nations declared June 21 the first International Day of Yoga after adopting a measure proposed by the Modi government. PM Modi used his first speech at the UN General Assembly in September last year to call for such a day to be recognised.
Yoga lets people "discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature", PM Modi had said at the time.
PM Modi is an enthusiastic practitioner of yoga. He says he performs Yoga exercises every day and credits them with giving him energy so he only needs a few hours of sleep each night.
In November, the Prime Minister appointed India's first Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) minister to promote yoga and traditional medicines as he embarked on a mission to increase awareness about home-grown health treatments.
PM Modi also introduced a plan to allow government officials to practice yoga at work.
The police are drawing up security plans to manage the crowd at the event, a home ministry official said.
Yoga is one of India's most successful cultural exports. About 20 million people are estimated to regularly perform the exercises in the United States and they spend an annual $10 billion on classes and related products, a 2012 study by yogajournal.com found.