In what can be seen as a rehearsal for the third International Yoga Day on June 21, yoga guru-cum-entrepreneur Baba Ramdev conducted a yoga session at the Raj Bhavan here on Wednesday, attended among others by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Ram Naik.

Baba Ramdev, Mr. Adityanath and Mr. Naik performed various asanas on the stage, as scores of other dignitaries, including senior government officials, Ministers, judges and representatives of organisations such as the Art of Living, Patanjali and Isha Foundation practised on mats spread on the ground.

According to a Raj Bhawan spokesperson, invitations had been sent out to around 1,500 yoga practitioners.

This is the first time the Governor’s House in Lucknow has opened up for a yoga event, Mr. Adityanath acknowledged in his short address. “Raj Bhawan junta ka bhawan ban gaya hai [The Governor’s House has become the People’s House],” he said, thanking Mr. Naik for allowing the programme.

The session was organised by the Ayush department of the U.P. government.

Modi to attend

International Day for Yoga was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in December, 2014 and was first celebrated on June 21, 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend this year’s celebrations in Lucknow, three months after his party secured a huge win in the Assembly elections.

The State government has been making elaborate preparations ever since the announcement was made. Last month, Mr. Adityanath had announced a 28-day training programme for participants.

According to government and police estimates, around 51,000-55,000 people are expected to attend the PM’s yoga session in Lucknow. The event will be held at the sprawling Ramabai Ambedkar Park, built by former Chief Minister Mayawati.

Several sessions

Simultaneously, similar sessions will be held in all district headquarters, local bodies, schools, and public places like parks. LED screens will show the PM’s event live at public parks in Lucknow.

In his address, Mr. Naik counted the benefits of practising yoga, among them physical and mental health. “Yoga protects you from diseases. People across the world are today benefiting from yoga,” he said.

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