New Delhi: India's ancient discipline of yoga will be a uniting force across the world on Sunday, cutting across religion, borders and differences, as over 200 million people will participate in events to mark the inaugural International Yoga Day, with a record 37,000 people striking up yoga poses in the national capital alone.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an ardent proponent of yoga, will himself be present at the mega early morning function at Rajpath.
While the main function will be at Rajpath, which has been placed under unprecedented security cover for the event that will see diplomats too joining in, the International Yoga Day events will be held across cities, towns and districts in the country.
Yoga day events are being held in 192 countries, including in the Arab world.
Indian missions abroad are all geared up the mark the occasion with some public events.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is to participate in the headline inaugural event at the UN that will be addressed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and attended by well-known spiritual guru Ravi Shankar.
In the national capital, 37,000 pink, blue and other coloured mats will make for a pretty backdrop on Rajpath as participants bend and stretch for the 35-minute event.
India will seek to break a few records on the day, besides of the largest yoga gathering at a single spot with 37,000 people performing different yogic asanas or positions.
More than 50 diplomats are expected to join in the yoga on Rajpath that day - another record.
Yoga guru Ramdev will be present on the stage with Prime Minister Modi who will give a short address, after which some yoga asanas will be performed.
More than 25 giant screens will beam the programme live across Rajpath and also to millions of homes in India and across the world.
Around 5,000 Delhi Police personnel along with commandos, sharp shooters and dog squads would be deployed at Rajpath and within a two-km radius to provide tight security.
Around 13 deputy commissioners of police will monitor the security arrangements.
The security personnel will take over the entire area from 3 am on Sunday till 10 am, during which no movement of vehicles will be allowed, except for labelled ones.
Participants, including government officials, members of the National Cadet Corps, school children and members of the armed forces, would be attired in white T-shirts provided by the AYUSH ministry and with comfortable lowers.
They would do asanas during the event that will begin at 7 am.
Delhi Metro services will begin from 4 a.m. instead of 6 am on Sunday for those who would participate.
The yoga asanas would be according to the Common Yoga Protocol, which has been put together by the AYUSH ministry, which is organising the celebration along with the external affairs ministry.
Thirty-five asanas would be performed.
At the events held across the world, yoga gurus from established yoga schools would be presiding over the function, including via web linkup.
"We are expecting more than 20 crore people just within Indian cities, towns and villages to be doing yoga on June 21," AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik told IANS.
The UN General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga following a proposal by Prime Minister Modi during his speech at the UNGA on September 27 last year.
The resolution for the Yoga Day was co-sponsored by 175 of the 193 member nations in a short period of 75 days.
Forty-seven of the 56 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries too joined as co-sponsors, in a telling example of the universality of yoga. While Pakistan did not co-sponsor, it did not object to the resolution either.
The major yoga schools associated with the worldwide event are Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation, which runs around 150 centres across the world, the Isha Foundation, the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute, Patanjanli International Yoga Foundation and the Gayatri Pariwar.
All participants would have practiced the exercises of the Common Yoga Protocol before attending Sunday's event.
The asanas are divided into different sections, beginning with the loosening up exercises, followed by standing posture exercises, sitting posture asanas, prone posture exercises and supine posture asanas. The Savasana or the dead body posture is the final exercise, after which some breathing exercises like Kapalbhati and Pranayama would be done, then dhyan or meditation, and finally the Shanti Path recited.
A two-day international yoga conference will be held in Delhi following the event.
It is estimated that 250 million people around the world practise yoga, over 20 million of them in the US.