World Yoga Day: India celebrates
Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga with others during a camp to mark International Day of Yoga [File photo]Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Students of an Islamic school in India have been practising yoga for 30 minutes every day to stay healthy during the fasting period of Ramadan.

According to the Indian Express, Anjuman-e-Islam school students in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, have turned to yoga ahead of the International Yoga Day on 21 June. Asserting that yoga has nothing to do with religion, they say the exercises should be done by everyone.

"Yoga helps us to get through the day in a healthy fashion. We are not supposed to drink water or eat anything during Ramzan [Ramadan] and practising this helps us with the pressure," Nameera was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.

Mallick Husseinbai, the physical education teacher of the school, said the students are seeing the benefits of yoga and asserted that Muslim pupils are not forced to chant the 'Om' mantra, which is traditionally repeated while performing yoga.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced International Yoga Day to the UN in 2014, and it was observed for the first time on 21 June, 2015. Barring Yemen, 192 countries, including 40 Muslim countries, took part in the event last year.

In India, the event sparked controversies and there was opposition from some sections to Modi's bid to make yoga a mass movement in the country. Minority groups opposed the chanting of the 'Om' mantra and a yogic posture called Surya Namaskar, which pays salutations to the Sun god during the exercise, as they are seen as Hindu religion-centric.