New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday joined thousands in a mass yoga demonstration at the Rajpath here and said the first International Yoga Day was the start of a new era for training the human mind for peace and harmony.
"Yoga is not only an exercise to make the body flexible but a path for inner development," he said in a short speech at the beginning of the mass yoga session here marking the International Yoga Day.
About 37,000 people took part in the yoga programme at the Rajpath.
Modi, who wore a white full-sleeved T-shirt and pants, said: "It marks a new era of training of human mind for peace and harmony."
The prime minister began his speech by asking: "Did anybody ever think that Rajpath can become Yogpath?"
"United Nations is celebrating International Yoga divas today. I think it is not any other day, but an effort to achieve peace and harmony."
"I bow to the gurus who have kept this tradition alive since centuries," he said.
Modi said: "Yoga is not a physical activity, if that would have been the case, then children working in circus would have been yogis."
The prime minister recalled the contribution of ancient sages, yoga gurus and practitioners across the world through the ages, for making yoga what it is, today.
He said that as mankind advances in various spheres of development and technology, individual human beings must progress too, and yoga offered an avenue for this.
"Yoga is not merely an exercise, but offers an opportunity for balancing the mind and body, and can help harness an individual's inner strength," he said.
He acknowledged all countries across the world who are observing International Yoga Day and the 177 countries which co-sponsored the resolution in the United Nations for adopting June 21 as International Yoga Day.
Earlier the PM took to twitter to greet people around the world, on the first International Day of Yoga.
"Greetings to people around the world on 1st International Day of Yoga! Lets pledge to make Yoga an integral part of our daily lives," he tweeted.
Greetings to people around the world on 1st International Day of Yoga! Lets pledge to make Yoga an integral part of our daily lives #YogaDay
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 21, 2015
While the main function was held at Rajpath, events related to the International Yoga Day events were held across cities, towns and districts in the country.
Yoga day events are also being held in 192 countries, including in the Arab world.