India celebrates International Yoga Day amid coronavirus pandemic

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extolled yoga as a way of building a "protective shield" of immunity against the coronavirus, as his nation battles a surge in infections.

Indians nation-wide practice yoga to observe International Yoga Day:

Narendra Modi's message

Modi, a keen yoga practitioner who has long espoused the benefits of the ancient Indian practice, gave the advice in a YouTube message ahead of World Yoga Day on Sunday.

"We all know that until now nowhere in the world have they been able to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 or coronavirus," Modi said in the video published Thursday.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Yoga during times of coronavirus

Yoga instructor Pratibha Agarwal from Anahata Yoga Zone performs yoga postures on a building's terrace in Hyderabad.

(Photograph:AFP)

'World realising the importance of Yoga'

People perform yoga on the eve of the International Yoga Day in Amritsar. 

The world is realising the importance of Yoga, even more, today due to the coronavirus pandemic, Modi said.

(Photograph:AFP)

Diversity!

Yoga instructor and champion Kuchipudi Lakshmi performs yoga postures at her institute in Hyderabad.

(Photograph:AFP)

Goes beyond race, colour, gender, faith and descent

A Sadhu (holy man) performs yoga at the Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, on the eve of International Yoga Day in Allahabad. 

(Photograph:AFP)

'Day of solidarity and universal brotherhood'

Yoga instructor Tammineni Padma performs yoga a posture while balancing on tree branches on the eve of International Yoga Day. 

"Many congratulations and best wishes to all of you on the 6th International Yoga Day. This day is a day of solidarity and universal brotherhood," Prime Minister Modi said.

(Photograph:AFP)

Proposed to UNGA in 2014

The International Yoga Day was proposed by Prime Minister Modi in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, 2014.

Yoga instructors from Anahata Yoga Zone perform yoga postures on a building's terrace in Hyderabad

(Photograph:AFP)