International yoga day event earns two new Guinness world records
GN Bureau | June 22, 2015
India on Sunday registered two new Guinness World Records for Yoga with 35,985 participants performing yogasanas at one venue and as many as 84 nationalities joining in the official observation of International Yoga Day (June 21) at Rajpath in Delhi.
"It is a matter of pride for India that we have broken two records on one day," said minister of AYUSH, Shripad Naik.
"The earlier record was set on November 19, 2005, when 29,973 students from 362 schools had performed a sequence of 'yogic kriyas' 18 minutes at Jiwaji University, Gwalior," said Marco Frigatti, global head of record verification, Guinness World Records.
35,985 people belonging to 84 nations joined the #YogaDay programme at Rajpath. 2 world records have been set. Yoga truly unites.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 21, 2015
The minimum criteria set for any yoga event to enter in the second category of record was participation of at least 50 nationalities and on Sunday 84 nationalities performed Yoga at Rajpath.
I performed Yoga with a large number of people from all sections of society at Faridabad on "International Yoga Day". pic.twitter.com/kimAXzhZZ5— Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (@naqvimukhtar) June 21, 2015
“Through this day (IYD), it is not just the beginning of a day but the beginning of a new age through which we will achieve greater heights of peace, good will and train the human spirit," Modi said in his brief speech after which descended from the stage and joined the sea of school children and others and performed asanas.
Modi has cautioned against commodifying yoga. Yoga is billions of dollar industry and the growing business potential prompted yoga teachers in US to rush for patenting. India has raised strong protest through all its channels and US admitted that patents were given for yoga related products made in US but not to yogic postures. India became alert and had set up a resource team to research and standardize yoga postures, to ensure owning and developing yoga.
Addressing a two-day international conference on yoga for holistic health, Modi said, "If we make yoga a commodity, then maximum damage to it will be done by us. Yoga is not a commodity, yoga is not a brand which has to be sold."
Drawing attention to boards of 'pure ghee' shops in the market, Modi said 50 years back these were never seen but today they exist because money is there.
"This should never happen in relation to yoga. Never should a time come when we hear that only my yoga is true and all the rest are uselessly holding their nose and spending dollars. This is not a trade or organisation but a state of mind (vyapaar ya vyavastha nahin avastha hai)."
Modi said yoga is "not the brainchild of a government" or the United Nations but a gift from many generations and many traditions from across the world.
The Prime Minister cautioned against oneupmanship on the ancient practice, saying it belongs to all countries and all communities.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma was among scores of diplomats who attended the mega event at Rajpath.
Several top bureaucrats, including secretaries to union ministries and officials from the PMO were also present. So were Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung. Locked in a bitter turf war, they were, however, seated in separate enclosures.
Indian soldiers dressed in special weather clothing practised yoga at the frozen heights of Siachen, the highest battlefield in the world at 18,800 ft above the sea level.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott appreciated yoga's universal appeal, saying,"For thousands of years, yoga has provided its followers with a guide to bringing their minds, bodies and spirits into balance."
Melbourne saw over 500 people gather at the Springers Leisure Centre to kick off the day with 'Surya Namaskar' and bending and twisting their bodies in complex postures. Yoga events were also held on Sydney's popular Bondi beach and in the Australian capital Canberra.
In the UK, the day began with the main event on the banks of Thames as hundreds gathered across cities to celebrate the ancient Indian exercise.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said in his message: "The UK is pleased to support International Yoga Day. We were one of 177 countries to vote in favour of Prime Minister Modi's proposal and we are pleased to see the enthusiasm with which it is being embraced, both in UK and around the world."
In China, events were organised at the prestigious Peking University and Geely University where people from different walks of life took part in the exercises.
An event was held in Paris, where people dressed in white sat on mats under the Eiffel Tower and practised yoga.