Thousands celebrate International Day of Yoga

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From the Himalayan region of Ladakh to the deck of an aircraft carrier, tens of thousands joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to celebrate the fourth International Day of Yoga, with a few wearing masks to bring attention to poor air quality. 

Modi pushed for the annual event to be held worldwide after he came to power in 2014. The lifestyle industry centred on the ancient physical and spiritual discipline is estimated to be worth around $80bn.

Countries such as Afghanistan, Japan and Peru held yoga sessions, while Australia and South Africa celebrated on Monday. 

In India, more than 50,000 people joined Modi in performing yoga on the lawns of Dehradun’s Forest Research Institute in the Himalayan foothills of the northern state of Uttarakhand.

“From Tokyo to Toronto, from Stockholm to Sao Paulo, Yoga has become a positive influence in the lives of millions,” Modi told participants on the lush green lawns.

“In a world where non-communicable diseases, stress and lifestyle-related ailments are rising, yoga can play a central role in mitigating these diseases to create a healthy mind and body.”

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