Bangkok, Jun 21: An open field at a local university in Thailand turned into a "yoga studio" early today as thousands of Thais, Indians and other expatriates gathered here to celebrate the first International Yoga Day.
The event was grandly celebrated across the ASEAN nations, including Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore. [Live Updates: International Yoga Day]
Over 7,400 people came to the grounds at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University here at 6.30 am local time (5 am IST) to take part in the event organised by the Indian Embassy.
All of them were given free yoga mats, shirts, snacks and energy drinks. "The whole event was superb, the participation was extraordinary from schools and universities in Thailand," India's Ambassador to Thailand Harsh Vardan Shringla told PTI.
Shringla thanked Guru Budha Charanji, whose Ashram Amravati is at Chiangmai, for invoking ancient Vedic chants to get everyone in the right frame of mind for yoga.
Earlier, Shringla said, "It is no coincidence that June 21 or the day of Summer Solstice has been chosen as the International Day of Yoga. The ancients have always believed that the first rays of the Sun are the most beneficial. And on Summer Solstice, the Sun's energy is even more effective."
"Our ancients recognised that without the Sun, there would be no life on Earth. Thank you, Sun, or Surya as we call the sun in India, and we welcome your advent with a Namaskar: Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a very ancient technique of paying respect or expressing gratitude to the Sun that is the source of all forms of life on the planet," he said.
Thailand's minister of tourism and sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul was the chief guest at the event. Ambassadors, representatives from the UN and Indian Associations also attended the event.
Yoga experts from India gave a 12-minute demonstration followed by common Yoga Protocol to all participants for 33 minutes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message was shown.
The event is also being held at Chiangmai, Phuket and Pattaya. In Vietnam, hundreds took part in the yoga day celebrations organised by the Indian High Commission at the Quan Ngua Sports Palace in Hanoi.
An event was also held in Ho Chi Minh city and seven other provinces. The International Day for Yoga was also held across Japan. India's Ambassador to Japan Deepa Wadhwa said Tokyo itself had several events pertaining to the Yoga Day.
An organisation called Yoga Therapy is holding events in all 47 prefectures, she said. Wadhwa flagged off at the premises of a Japanese school where around 500 yoga enthusiasts were attending.
June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the UN General Assembly in December, 2014.
177 nations, out of 193 member states of the UN joined as co-sponsors, creating a new record for the highest number of co-sponsoring countries ever for an UN General Assembly Resolution of such nature.