Yoga Day has potential to transform J&K’s economy: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a selfie with students after performing yoga on the occasion of 10th International Yoga Day in Srinagar on Friday. (UNI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a selfie with students after performing yoga on the occasion of 10th International Yoga Day in Srinagar on Friday. (UNI)

Despite rain, thousands perform Yoga
*PM takes selfies with students

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, June 21: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today stressed that International Yoga Day has the potential to transform the economy of Jammu and Kashmir by attracting more tourists.
Celebrating the 10th International Yoga Day at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on the picturesque banks of the Dal lake, Modi while addressing a gathering focused on the potential impact of yoga on J&K.
“I have been seeing since yesterday that yoga is becoming popular with the people of Srinagar and (rest of) Jammu and Kashmir. It is a big thing that 50,000 to 60,000 people are associated with yoga. This will attract more tourists here,” he said.
The PM said yoga could help the Union Territory to attract more tourists, which in turn would provide new livelihood opportunities to locals.
Modi cited a competition in Egypt where yoga was used to promote tourism. “I recently saw a video from Egypt. They organised a competition and awarded the best yoga photographs and videos from iconic tourist places in the country. In the pictures and videos, I saw girls from Egypt standing in front of the iconic Pyramids doing yoga, it was so attractive.
“For Kashmir, yoga can become such a big source of livelihood. It can become a centre of attraction for tourists,” Modi said. Click here to watch video
The PM described yoga as not just knowledge but also a science. “When people talk about yoga, most of them think it is a spiritual journey as if it is to find Allah, Ishwar or God… Leave aside the spiritual journey which can happen any time later. For now, you can focus on personal development and yoga is part of that”.
“If you approach it that way, I am sure you will get a lot of benefits. Personal development leads to the benefit of society, which in turn leads to the benefit of humankind,” he said.
The PM told the gathering that yoga has helped people realise their welfare is linked to the welfare of the world around them.
“The world is looking at yoga as a powerful agent of global good. Yoga helps us live in the present moment without the baggage of the past,” he said.
“When we are peaceful within, we can also make a positive impact on the world…Yoga is making new ways of positive change in the society,” he added.
Modi said the number of yoga practitioners across the globe is growing every day and the regimen is becoming a part of their daily life.
“In many countries, yoga is becoming a part of the daily lives of people,” he said.
The PM referred to 101-year-old Frenchwoman Charlotte Chopin who was awarded a Padma Shri for her services in popularising yoga in her country.

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Modi said the spread of yoga globally has led to a change in perception about it as more people are travelling to India to get authentic knowledge on it.
“We are now seeing yoga tourism in States like Uttarakhand and Kerala.”
“People are now hiring personal yoga trainers for fitness, and companies are including yoga in mind and body (fitness) programmes for their employees. It has opened new avenues of livelihood,” he added.
The PM said yoga provides solutions to several problems. “In this era of information revolution, there is a flood of information sources and it is a challenge for the human mind to focus on one subject.
“A solution for this is also in yoga as it helps the mind to focus. That is why from army to sports, yoga has been included in their routine,” he said.
Modi said astronauts and people working on space projects are trained in yoga as it increases “productivity as well as tolerance”.
The PM lauded the determination of the practitioners to stay back even in adverse weather.
“Our daughters used their yoga mats to protect themselves from rain but they did not leave. It is heartening to see,” he said.
He said yoga, once made a part of daily life, gives uninterrupted benefits for a long time.
“We have to understand the importance of yoga in life. Just like brushing teeth or combing hair becomes a daily routine, with similar ease yoga becomes a process to follow when you get used to it. It keeps giving benefits every moment,” he said.
He cited the example of trainers who help people improve their memory power through the use of special techniques.
“The attention is linked to how much our mind is focused. You must have seen many people develop techniques to improve memory power and for those who follow the process, their memory power improves.
“Similarly, working with a focus on any issue will give the best of the best results, which leads to personal development and with the least exertion you get maximum satisfaction,” Modi said.
“If you do something while your attention is divided among the 10 things, it increases exhaustion,” he added.
The PM’s event was scheduled to be held in the open but early morning rain forced the event indoors. Notwithstanding the rain, scores of students were amongst those who joined the prime minister in performing various asanas on the occasion.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi clicked selfies with the students of various institutions at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) on the bank of iconic Dal Lake during the Yoga Day celebrations.
The students requested Modi for selfies and he happily obliged.
“Post Yoga selfies in Srinagar: Unparalleled vibrancy here, at Dal Lake,” Prime Minister posted on X The Prime Minister shared a few of these pictures with the students on his ‘X’ page.
The Prime Minister was in white and wore a sweater as rains lashed Srinagar and he admitted: “It gets cold here with rain, but it may not seem that different for locals here”. It rained also in adjoining areas since morning bringing down the temperature.
The students, all in white, were seen posing with smiles. Jubilant, some raised hands in enthusiasm.