Chandigarh, June 21: Yoga is no religious activity and people must embrace it for better mental and physical health, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Tuesday to mark the International Day of Yoga.
Addressing some 30,000 yoga enthusiasts at the Capitol Complex, Modi also said that the UN-declared International Day of Yoga had become the biggest global mass movement.
"Yoga is not about the other life. Therefore, it is not a religious practice. It is the science of this world, it is about what we will get in this life," Modi said, speaking in Hindi.
He said yoga was for both believers and non-believers, and there was no need to create any controversy over it.
"Yoga is not a religious activity. Many people do not understand yoga completely. It is not what you will get from yoga but what is important is what you will give to yoga and what all (ailments) will it rid you of.
"It helps is getting mukti (salvation) from health issues," Modi said, in an attempt to de-link the belief among some that yoga was a part of Hinduism.
"Among all days marked by the UN, no day has equalled the mass movement the International Yoga Day has become. It has become the biggest mass movement worldwide," said Modi, who was instrumental in getting the UN to declare June 21 as the International Yoga Day.
"Make yoga a part of your life," he said. "Just as the mobile phone is now a part of your life, make yoga too a part of your life."
Yoga, he said, helped to control the mind and maintain a healthy body. It helped people to lead a disciplined life.
Modi said yoga was a guarantee for wellness, not just fitness.
"Yoga binds body, mind, intelligence and soul. It provides a balance to mind and body. Yoga gives health insurance at zero budget... Anyone can do it anywhere...
"We are busy in our lives. We are cut off from ourselves. Yoga links us to ourselves."
He said yoga had become a "big profession worldwide".
Modi said people in every corner of the country and indeed in other countries too were taking part in the International Yoga Day.
Expressing concern at the rising number of diabetics in India, he urged people to focus on the disease so that it could be tackled in a better way by the next International Yoga Day.
Modi announced two annual awards to be given from next year: for doing exceptional work for promotion of yoga at the international and national levels.
The prime minister later got down from the stage from where he addressed the gathering and shook hands with specially-abled yoga enthusiasts.
Donning T-shirts and track-pants, the yoga enthusiasts, shortlisted to perform yoga, had begun lining up around the spruced up complex around 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
Over 96,000 people had registered themselves to take part in the Chandigarh event. Of this, over 30,000 were picked, including 10,000 each from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.
Yoga day was also held at 100 other locations across Chandigarh.
Also on Tuesday, hundreds of thousands across the country began the day with yoga exercises.
Yoga guru Ramdev held his record-breaking yoga event in Faridabad town in Haryana, adjoining the national capital, earlier on Tuesday.
Organisers said over 100,000 people performed yoga with Ramdev, setting a world record.
The main event of the first International Yoga Day celebration was held on Rajpath in the heart of New Delhi last year.