Yoga China
Ahead of the International Yoga Day, 2016 countries such as China, Australia, Malaysia and Pakistan have already initiated yoga programmes to mark the event. Pictured: Yoga lovers guide tourists to practise yoga at a water park to cool off in Chongqing, China, June 18, 2016.Reuters

Ahead of the second International Yoga Day (IYD) on June 21, the excitement is building up not only in India but the world over. The United Nations headquarters building in New York has been lit up with yoga posture projections on the eve of IYD, 2016.

India's Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, the Permanent Representative of the country to the United Nations, said in a tweet that essential yoga kits would be provided to participants from 135 countries at the UN on the occasion of IYD.

Nearly 7,695 peacekeepers would join the yoga day celebrations this year at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Some countries, such as China, Australia, Malaysia and Pakistan, have already initiated yoga programmes to mark the event.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who crusaded the global yoga movement, said he did not expect to see such "enormous enthusiasm" that's been shown by countries throughout the world for yoga. Modi said in a video posted on his Twitter account that when he outlined the vision for IYD in the United Nations Assembly in 2014 he did not anticipate such response from all corners of the world.

He said the participation of a majority of countries testifies to the fact that the ancient practice of yoga brings the world together as a manifestation of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. "I recall the iconic images from that momentous day last year. All the way from the Pacific Islands to Port of Spain, from Vladivostok to Vancouver and from Copenhagen to Cape Town, thousands gathered to unite the bodies and minds through the practice of yoga," Modi said in the video.

He added that yoga is much more than physical exercise, and that it enables us to access a new dimension of the self, even while providing a holistic approach to preventive healthcare and well-being. "Yoga helps us to restore our balance and furnishes us with a much-needed sense of clarity. And through its unifying power, we seek completeness, and at the same time, a oneness with the world," the PM said.

In China, celebrations have already been kick-started. On Saturday, a week-long yoga celebrations were launched in many cities in China with the Chinese government coordinating with the Indian embassy to mark the event. About 600 people gathered on Saturday for a yoga session at Beijing's biggest park, the Hindustan Times reported.

In Australia, more than 250 Australians and members of Indian community gathered at Canberra to practise yoga. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called yoga as India's gift to the world, according to the Press Trust of India

Cities in Texas, United States are also gearing up to celebrate IYD, 2016. The Consulate General of India in associate with various non-profit organisations and Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Yogpeeth have planned a series of events in major Texas cities.

"I encourage all Houstonians to perform yoga and actively participate in this event with interactive yoga sessions and 'Yoga fair' to spread the message of yoga for peace and harmony," Consul General of India Anupam Ray was quoted by the PTI as saying.

In Malaysia, hundreds took part in a Yoga Day session at Kuala Lumpur in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building. In Pakistan, people practised yoga at the Indian High Commission office in Islamabad, according to scroll.in.

Gala celebrations are due to happen in India with nearly one lakh programmes planned by the government all across the country. Union Minister Jitendra Singh was quoted by the PTI as saying that 1,00,260 yoga programmes would be organised at different centres across the country.

The main programme will, however, be held in Chandigarh, which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ten state-level mega events will be hosted by cities such as Varanasi, Imphal, Jammu, Vadodara, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Shimla and Hoshiarpur. The Sports and Youth Affairs ministry will be organising Yoga Day programmes in 391 universities, 16,000 colleges and 12,000 schools across the country.

Yoga Day, UN
The United Nations headquarters building in New York has been lit up with Yoga posture projections on the eve of International Yoga Day, 2016India's Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations/ Twitter
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