World Yoga Day: India celebrates
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs yoga with others during a yoga camp to mark the International Day of Yoga Reuters/Adnan Abidi

In September 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested to the 69th UN General Assembly that there was a need for World Yoga Day. Accordingly, 75 days later, a resolution was passed marking 21 June as International Day of Yoga. The resolution was supported by 177 out of 193 UN nations, a record.

And today, 21 June 2015, International Yoga Day is being observed for the very first time. The concept, initiated by India has captivated people around the globe as it is believed that those who practise the art secure inner peace.

India is celebrating the occasion with "immense enthusiasm", said Modi and added that "it is the result of a large people's movement".

Yoga and the UN

"...the day has received unprecedented enthusiasm from people around the world... I am also very much excited." -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described himself as "excited" over the day, congratulating Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her involvement in the event.

The secretary general was quoted as saying: "There is a lot of enthusiasm. We have been observing many international days on something but [Yoga Day] is unprecedented, most exciting."

Yoga and the world

While 192 member nations of the UN will be commemorating the day, with the exception of Yemen, in India the event began with Modi joining a large number of enthusiasts in New Delhi to set a world record.

"Who would have thought that Rajpath [in New Delhi] would become Yoga Path," he said, adding: "Yoga is an everyday part of life... Yoga is not just for contorting your body into shapes. If that were true, people working in the circus would be called yogis."

Earlier on 21 June, Modi posted on Twitter about how enthusiastic he was to mark the occasion.

This was followed by numerous tweets from people performing yoga in several parts of the world.

International Day of Yoga is being celebrated in over 251 cities in 192 countries across the world. In Britain, mats will be rolled out along the banks of the River Thames for citizens to practise yoga. In the US, Swaraj will be at the UN headquarters in New York to participate in celebrations at Times Square.