Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday led the International Yoga Day celebrations across the country.

Addressing the Yoga Day event at Prabhat Tara ground in Jharkhand’s Ranchi, PM Modi thanked the people and media for having promoted yoga internationally through social media.

Speaking on why he chose Ranchi to participate in the event, Modi said Jharkhand is very close to nature. Also, Ranchi and health have gone down in history when on September 3 last year, the government launched the world’s largest healthcare scheme — Ayushman Bharat, he added.

The Prime Minister said now his aim is to take the journey of modern yoga from cities to villages, to the homes of the poor and the tribals. He said he wants to make yoga an integral part of the lives of the poor and tribals as it is the poor who suffer the most due to illness.

Announcing the theme for the year — “Yoga for Heart Care” — PM Modi said heart care has become a challenge all over the world.

He further urged all to embrace yoga and make it an integral part of their daily routine. “Yoga is ancient and modern. It is constant and evolving. For centuries, the essence of yoga has remained the same,” he said.

Yoga provides a perfect blend of ‘gyaan’ and knowledge, ‘bhakti’ and devotion, the PM said.

Modi further stressed that the year’s motto must be “Yoga for peace, harmony and progress”.

PM Modi called for the need to focus on research related to yoga. “Yoga must also be part of the medical, physiotherapy, Artificial Intelligence fields,” he added.

Over 30,000 yoga enthusiasts took part in PM Modi’s event amid tight security.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and various other ministers were present in the event.

Celebrations also panned across the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

President Ram Nath Kovind led the International Yoga Day celebrations at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“International Day of Yoga is being celebrated at Rashtrapati Bhavan since 2015. I am happy that like previous years, this year too we are celebrating Yoga Day here. It’s not just an event, it’s a way to make yoga an integral part of our life,” President Kovind said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh led the celebrations in Delhi’s Rajpath while Home Minister Amit Shah participated in an event in Haryana’s Rohtak.